Evaluation of Frailty in Older Adults With Cardiovascular Disease: Incorporating Physical Performance Measures

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Rapid growth in the numbers of older adults with cardiovascular disease (CVD) is raising awareness and concern of the impact that common geriatric syndromes such as frailty may have on clinical outcomes, health-related quality of life, and rising economic burden associated with healthcare. Increasingly, frailty is recognized to be a highly prevalent and important risk factor that is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. A limitation of previous studies in patients with CVD has been the lack of a consistent definition and measures to evaluate frailty. In this review, building upon the work of Fried and colleagues, a definition of frailty is provided that is applicable for evaluating frailty in older adults with CVD. Simple, well-established performance-based measures widely used in comprehensive geriatric assessment are recommended that can be readily implemented by nurses in most practice settings. The limited studies conducted in older adults with CVD have shown physical performance measures to be highly predictive of clinical outcomes. Implications for practice and areas for future research are described for the growing numbers of elderly cardiac patients who are frail frailty and at risk for disability.

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