Blood pressure in relation to frailty in older adults: A population-based study

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2019 Dec;21(12):1895-1904. doi: 10.1111/jch.13722. Epub 2019 Oct 29.


In frail older adults, low blood pressure (BP) might be associated with worse health outcomes and hypertension management in this population is highly debated. Using data from a population-based study of older adults, we assessed the association between frailty and BP. We used data collected between 2014 and 2016 from 3157 participants aged between 67 and 80 years in the Lausanne cohort Lc65+. BP was measured three times at one visit, and frailty status was assessed based on Fried's phenotype model. We analyzed the cross-sectional association between BP and frailty by computing mean systolic and diastolic BP stratified by sex, age, and frailty and by fitting regression models. The average age of the participants was 73.3 (standard deviation [SD]: 4.1) years, and 59.1% were women. 34.1% were pre-frail, and 3.3% were frail. Mean BP was 135.1/76.3 mm Hg (SD 18.5/11.0). Age- and sex-adjusted systolic BP was on average lower by 2.8 mm Hg (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.4-4.2) and 6.7 mm Hg (95% CI: 3.2-10.3) among pre-frail and frail compared to non-frail participants. Similar differences in mean diastolic BP across frailty status were found. Upon adjustment for antihypertensive treatment, the associations between frailty status and BP did not change substantially. Frail individuals had a substantially lower BP compared with non-frail older adults. Because low BP could be detrimental among frail older patients, our findings raise questions about hypertension management in this population and stress the need for additional evidence.

Keywords: epidemiology; frailty; hypertension in the elderly; observational; population-based.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diastole / physiology
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Systole / physiology


  • Antihypertensive Agents