Evaluation of a frailty index based on a comprehensive geriatric assessment in a population based study of elderly Canadians

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2005 Dec;17(6):465-71. doi: 10.1007/BF03327413.


Background and aims: Objectives were to develop a frailty index (FI) based on a standard comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) derived from a clinical examination; to assess the validity of the FI-CGA and to compare its precision with other frailty measures.

Design: Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study, with five-year follow-up data.

Setting: Second phase of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA-2); clinical examinations were performed in clinics, nursing homes, and patients' homes.

Participants: People selected (as either cognitively impaired cases or unimpaired controls) to receive the CSHA-2 clinical examination (n = 2305; women = 1431).

Measurements: Clinical and performance-based measures and diagnostic data were extracted to correspond to the 10 impairment domains and the single comorbidity domain of a CGA. The proportion of deficits accumulated in each domain was calculated to yield the FI-CGA. The FI-CGA was validated and its predictive ability compared with other frailty measures.

Results: Within the seven grades of fitness/frailty identified, subjects with greater frailty were older, less educated, and more likely to be women. The FI-CGA correlated highly with a previously validated, empirically-derived frailty index (r = 0.76). Frailty was associated with higher risk of death (for each increment in frailty, the hazard ratio, adjusted for age, sex and education, was 1.23 (95% CI 1.18-1.29) and institutionalization (HR 1.20; 1.10-1.32).

Conclusions: In a population survey, the FI-CGA is a valid means of quantifying frailty from routinely collected data.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / mortality*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors