Background: The frailty index (FI) is based on accumulation of health deficits. FI cut-offs define non-frail, prefrail and frail states. We described transitions of FI states in The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Methods: Participants aged ≥50 years with information for a 31-deficit FI at wave 1 (2010) were followed-up over four waves (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018). Transitions were visualized with alluvial plots and probabilities estimated with multi-state Markov models, investigating the effects of age, sex and education. Results: 8174 wave 1 participants were included (3744 men and 4430 women; mean age 63.8 years). Probabilities from non-frail to prefrail, and non-frail to frail were 18% and 2%, respectively. Prefrail had a 19% probability of reversal to non-frail, and a 15% risk of progression to frail. Frail had a 21% probability of reversal to prefrail and 14% risk of death. Being older and female increased the risk of adverse FI state transitions, but being female reduced the risk of transition from frail to death. Higher level of education was associated with improvement from prefrail to non-frail. Conclusions: FI states are characterized by dynamic longitudinal transitions and frequent improvement. Opportunities exist for reducing the probability of adverse transitions.
Keywords: Aged; Frailty; Longitudinal; Multi-state; Surveys; Transition.
Copyright: © 2021 Romero-Ortuno R et al.