HIV-Related Frailty Is Not Characterized by Sarcopenia

Hilary Caitlyn Rees, Edward Meister, Martha Jane Mohler, Stephen A Klotz
Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care 2016, 15 (2): 131-4
Frailty is common in HIV-infected patients, but its causes are elusive. We assessed 122 clinic patients for frailty using the 5-measure Fried Frailty criteria. The prevalence of frailty was 19% (n = 23) and all frail patients reported exhaustion with a Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score >16 indicating depression. The next most common criterion was low physical activity (expenditure of kcal/week). Markers of sarcopenia such as decreased grip strength and decreased gait speed, hallmarks of frailty in the elderly, were the least common of the 5 criteria. Frailty was reversible: 6 frail patients returned for reassessment and only 2 were frail. We conclude that frailty in the HIV-infected patients is potentially reversible and strongly associated with depression and low physical activity, whereas frailty in the elderly is associated with aging-related sarcopenia and is often irreversible.

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