Pre-frailty and risk of cardiovascular disease in elderly men and women: the Pro.V.A. study

Giuseppe Sergi, Nicola Veronese, Luigi Fontana, Marina De Rui, Francesco Bolzetta, Sabina Zambon, Maria-Chiara Corti, Giovannella Baggio, Elena Debora Toffanello, Gaetano Crepaldi, Egle Perissinotto, Enzo Manzato
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2015 March 17, 65 (10): 976-83

BACKGROUND: Frailty is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the impact of early, potentially reversible stages of frailty on CVD risk is unknown.

OBJECTIVES: This study sought to ascertain whether pre-frailty can predict the onset of CVD in a cohort of community-dwelling, not disabled, elderly people.

METHODS: A sample of 1,567 participants age 65 to 96 years without frailty or disability at baseline was followed for 4.4 years. Pre-frailty was defined as the presence of 1 or 2 modified Fried criteria (unintentional weight loss, low physical activity level, weakness, exhaustion, and slow gait speed), and incident CVD as onset of coronary artery diseases, heart failure, stroke, peripheral artery disease, or CVD-related mortality.

RESULTS: During follow-up, 551 participants developed CVD. Compared with participants who did not become frail, those with 1 modified Fried criterion (p = 0.03) and those with 2 criteria (p = 0.001) had a significantly higher risk of CVD, even after adjusting for several potential confounders (traditional risk factors for CVD, inflammatory markers, and hemoglobin A1c levels). Low energy expenditure (p = 0.03), exhaustion (p = 0.01), and slow gait speed (p = 0.03) were significantly associated with the onset of CVD, whereas unintentional weight loss and weakness were not.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that pre-frailty, which is potentially reversible, is independently associated with a higher risk of older adults developing CVD. Among the physical domains of pre-frailty, low gait speed seems to be the best predictor of future CVD.

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