Prefrailty, impairment in physical function, and risk of incident heart failure among older adults

Matthew W. Segar, Sumitabh Singh, Parag Goyal, Scott L. Hummel, Mathew S. Maurer, Daniel E. Forman, Javed Butler, Ambarish Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: Evaluate the association between prefrailty and the risk of heart failure (HF) among older adults. Design, setting, and participants: This prospective, community-based cohort study included participants from the Atherosclerotic Risk in Communities study who underwent detailed frailty assessment using Fried Criteria and physical function assessment using the Short Performance Physical Battery (SPPB) score. Individuals with prevalent HF and frailty were excluded. Main outcomes and measures: Adjusted association between prefrailty (vs robust), physical function measures (SPPB score, grip strength, and gait speed), and incident HF (overall and HF subtypes, HF with reduced [HFrEF, EF < 50%] and preserved ejection fraction [HFpEF]) were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: Among 5210 participants (mean age 75 years, 58% women), 2565 (49.2%) were identified as prefrail. In cross-sectional analysis, prefrail individuals had a higher burden of chronic myocardial injury (troponin, Std β = 0.08 [0.05–0.10]) and neurohormonal stress (NT-ProBNP, Std β = 0.03 [0.02–0.05]) after adjustment for potential confounders. Over a median follow-up of 4.6 years, there were 232 (4.5%) HF events (HFrEF: 102; HFpEF: 97). Prefrailty was associated with an increased risk of HF after adjusting for potential clinical confounders and cardiac biomarkers (aHR [95% CI] = 1.65 [1.24–2.20]). Among HF subtypes, prefrailty was associated with an increased risk of HFpEF but not HFrEF (aHR [95% CI] = 1.73 [1.11–2.70] and 1.38 [0.90–2.10], respectively). A lower SPPB score was also associated with an increased risk of overall HF and HFpEF, but not HFrEF. Among individual components, increased gait speed were associated with a lower risk of HFpEF, but not HFrEF. Conclusions and relevance: Subtle abnormalities in physiological reserve (prefrailty) and impairment in physical function (SPPB) were both significantly associated with a higher risk of incident HF, particularly HFpEF. These findings highlight the potential role of routine assessment of geriatric syndromes for early identification of HF risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2486-2497
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • heart failure
  • heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
  • physical function
  • prefrailty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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