Framingham cardiovascular disease risk scores and incident frailty: the English longitudinal study of ageing

Catharine R Gale, Cyrus Cooper, Avan Aihie Sayer

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Cross-sectional studies show that frailty is common in older people with cardiovascular disease. Whether older people at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease are more likely to become frail is unclear. We used multinomial logistic regression to examine the prospective relation between Framingham cardiovascular disease risk scores and incidence of physical frailty or pre-frailty, defined according to the Fried criteria, in 1,726 men and women aged 60 to over 90 years from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing who had no history of cardiovascular disease at baseline. Men and women with higher Framingham cardiovascular risk scores were more likely to become frail over the 4-year follow-up period. For a standard deviation higher score at baseline, the relative risk ratio (95 % confidence interval) for incident frailty, adjusted for sex and baseline frailty status, was 2.76 (2.18, 3.49). There was a significant association between Framingham cardiovascular risk score and risk of pre-frailty: 1.69 (1.46, 1.95). After further adjustment for other potential confounding factors, the relative risk ratios for frailty and pre-frailty were 2.15 (1.68, 2.75) and 1.50 (1.29, 1.74), respectively. The associations were unchanged after excluding incident cases of cardiovascular disease. Separate adjustment for each component of the risk score suggested that no single component was driving the associations between cardiovascular risk score and incident pre-frailty or frailty. Framingham cardiovascular risk scores may be useful for predicting the development of physical frailty in older people. We now need to understand the biological mechanisms whereby cardiovascular risk increases the risk of frailty.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9692
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


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