Frequency of and Significance of Physical Frailty in Patients With Heart Failure

Am J Cardiol. 2017 Apr 15;119(8):1243-1249. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.12.024. Epub 2017 Jan 25.


Physical frailty is an important prognostic indicator in heart failure (HF); however, few studies have examined the relation between physical frailty and invasive hemodynamics among adults with HF. The purpose of this study was to characterize physical frailty in HF in relation to invasive hemodynamics. We enrolled 49 patients with New York Heart Association class II to IV HF when participants were scheduled for a right-sided cardiac heart catheterization procedure. Physical frailty was measured according to the "frailty phenotype": shrinking, weakness, slowness, physical exhaustion, and low physical activity. Markers of invasive hemodynamics were derived from a formal review of right-sided cardiac catheterization tracings, and projected survival was calculated using the Seattle HF model. The mean age of the sample (n = 49) was 57.4 ± 9.7 years, 67% were men, 92% had New York Heart Association class III/IV HF, and 67% had nonischemic HF. Physical frailty was identified in 24 participants (49%) and was associated with worse Seattle HF model 1-year projected survival (p = 0.007). After adjusting for projected survival, physically frail participants had lower cardiac index (by both thermodilution and the Fick equation) and higher heart rates compared with those not physically frail (all p <0.05). In conclusion, physical frailty is highly prevalent in patients with HF and is associated with low-output HF.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Output, Low / physiopathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Walking Speed / physiology*
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Oxygen