Frailty in advanced heart failure: a systematic review

Heart Fail Rev. 2015 Sep;20(5):553-60. doi: 10.1007/s10741-015-9493-8.


Frailty is a common geriatric syndrome of increased vulnerability to adverse events. The prevalence of frailty among chronic heart failure (CHF) is high and confers a greater risk of adverse events including falls, hospitalisation and mortality. There have been few studies assessing frailty in CHF. A review of the key databases was conducted from 2004 to 2014 including the key search terms 'frail elderly' and 'heart failure'. The following electronic databases were searched: Medline, Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health and Academic Search Complete, with reference lists being manually searched. Articles were included if frailty was assessed using a valid measuring tool in a population with a confirmed diagnosis of CHF. The search yielded a total of 393 articles with 8 articles being selected for review. The prevalence of frailty among those with CHF was high, ranging from 18 to 54 %. The frailty phenotype and geriatric assessments tools were the most common frailty measures utilised; high rates of co-morbidity, hospitalisation and mortality were identified. Frailty is common in CHF and is associated with adverse outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Disease Progression
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods
  • Heart Failure* / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure* / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure* / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors