Original Article

Implications of Frailty among Men with Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators

Authors: Katherine Picel, MD, Tien N. Vo, MS, Jessica Kealhofer, MD, Vidhu Anand, MD, Kristine E. Ensrud, MD, MPH, Selcuk Adabag, MD, MS


Objectives: Frailty is associated with adverse outcomes, but little is known of the impact of frailty on patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). This study sought to determine the prevalence of frailty, based on quantitative assessment, and assessed its potential impact on outcomes among community-dwelling men with ICDs.

Methods: A total of 124 ICD-treated men presenting for a routine device clinic appointment between May and October 2016 underwent frailty assessment consisting of three components: shrinking (weight loss ≥5% during the past year), weakness (inability to rise from a chair without using their arms), and self-reported poor energy level. Patients who had no components were considered robust, those with 1 component were intermediate stage, and those with ≥2 components were deemed frail.

Results: Mean age was 70.4 (±9.7) years. Of the 124 men, 31 (25%) were considered to be frail, 65 (52%) were intermediate, and 28 (23%) were robust. Frail men were older and were more likely to have symptomatic heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and hypertension (P < 0.05 for all) compared with nonfrail men. During a follow-up of 16 months, frail men were significantly more likely to die compared with nonfrail men (29% vs 5.4%, P < 0.0003). The incidence of appropriate ICD shocks (16.1% vs 6.5%) or hospitalizations (38.7% vs 23.7%) tended to be higher among frail versus nonfrail patients, but neither reached statistical significance (P = 0.10).

Conclusions: Almost one-fourth of men with ICD are frail. Almost one-third of frail ICD patients died within 16 months. It may be useful to assess frailty in patients with ICD.
Posted in: Other Primary Geriatric Topics2

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