Date Published: June 1, 2018
Publisher: JKL International LLC
Author(s): Emma EF. Kleipool, Emiel O. Hoogendijk, Marijke C. Trappenburg, M. Louis Handoko, Martijn Huisman, Mike JL. Peters, Majon Muller.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been associated with an increased risk of frailty, but the direction of the association remains unclear. This study set out to examine the bidirectional longitudinal association between CVD and frailty over an extended period of time. Data are from 1432 older adults (aged 65-88yrs) of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA), who were followed for 17 years. At baseline and follow-up, CVD was assessed through self-report, medication use and medical records, and classified as angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, heart failure (HF), stroke, and peripheral artery disease. Throughout the study, frailty was assessed using Fried’s frailty criteria. Cox regression models showed that patients with HF had an increased frailty risk (HR 2.7; 95%CI: 1.5-5.1) after a median follow-up of 8.4 yrs. This finding was independent of potential confounders (age, sex, several comorbidities). Examinations of the reverse association revealed that frail older adults were not at risk of incident CVD. Of all older adults with CVD, those with HF have an increased risk of frailty and frail older adults do not have an increased risk of CVD. Our findings emphasize the need for cardiac rehabilitation programs evaluating the effect of physical exercise programs in order to prevent frailty and therewith improve quality of life and independence of care in CVD patients.
The present study studied the bidirectional effect of CVD on frailty among community-dwelling older adults. First, we observed cross-sectional associations between CVD and frailty. Patients with CVD, especially those with PAD and HF, were more likely to be frail. Longitudinally, mainly HF was associated with incident frailty. These patients were at least twice as likely to become frail, which puts these patients at an equal or even higher risk of incident frailty than subjects with chronic lung disease, arthritis or diabetes. Analyses studying the reverse association revealed that in this older population, frailty does not precede development of CVD during three years of follow-up.