Cross-sectional association of frailty and arterial stiffness in community-dwelling older adults: The framingham heart study

Ariela R. Orkaby, Kathryn L. Lunetta, Fangui J. Sun, Jane A. Driver, Emelia J. Benjamin, Naomi M. Hamburg, Gary F. Mitchell, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Joanne M. Murabito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Frailty is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Underlying mechanisms to explain the connection between frailty and CVD are unclear. We sought to examine the association between frailty and arterial stiffness, a precursor of hypertension and CVD. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of community-dwelling Framingham Heart Study Offspring and Omni participants ≥60 years of age examined in 2005-2008. Frailty was defined primarily according to the Fried physical phenotype definition, which identifies nonfrail, prefrail, and frail individuals. Arterial stiffness was assessed using carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (CFPWV). Generalized linear regression was used to examine the association between frailty level and CFPWV (modeled as -1000/CFPWV in msec/m, then transformed back to the original scale, m/s), adjusted for age, sex, cohort, mean arterial pressure, heart rate, height, and smoking. Results: Of 2,171 participants (55% women, 91% white), 45% were prefrail and 7% were frail. Mean ages were 67, 70, and 73 years, and adjusted CFPWV least squares means were 10.0 (95% CI, 9.9-10.1), 10.3 (10.2-10.5), and 10.5 m/s (10.1-11.0); p =.0002 for nonfrail, prefrail, and frail groups, respectively. Results were similar using the Rockwood cumulative deficit model of frailty, and in a sensitivity analysis adjusting for prevalent coronary heart disease and diabetes. Conclusions: Prefrailty and frailty were associated with higher arterial stiffness in a cohort of community-dwelling older adults. Arterial stiffness may help explain the relationship between frailty and CVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-379
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Epidemiology
  • Frailty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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