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Osteoporos Int. 2013 Sep;24(9):2397-403. doi: 10.1007/s00198-013-2303-z. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Does frailty predict increased risk of falls and fractures? A prospective population-based study.

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Department of Internal Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


A frailty concept that includes psychological and cognitive markers was prospectively shown to be associated with increased risk of multiple falls and fractures among 1,509 community dwelling older adults, especially in those aged 75 and over. The predictive ability of frailty is not superior to falls history.


The concept of frailty has been defined with or without psychological and cognitive markers. Falls are associated with multiple risk factors, including cognitive and mood disorders. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of a comprehensive concept of frailty and its components with falls and fractures in community-dwelling older adults and to compare its predictive ability with having a history of falls.


One thousand five hundred nine participants in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam aged ≥65 were assessed to determine fall history and the prevalence of nine frailty markers, including cognitive and psychological factors. The number of falls and time to second fall were prospectively registered for 1 year. Fractures were registered for 6 years.


Frailty was significantly associated with time to second fall: hazard ratio of 1.53 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07-2.18] and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.58 (CI, 0.53-0.62). In participants aged ≥75, frailty was associated with ≥2 falls: odds ratio (OR) of 1.74 (CI, 1.19-2.55) and AUC of 0.62 (CI, 0.55-0.68). Frailty, adjusted for age and sex, was significantly associated with ≥2 fractures: OR of 3.67 (CI, 1.47-9.15). The AUCs for falls history (aged ≥75) ranged from 0.62 (CI, 0.58-0.67) for ≥1 falls to 0.67 (CI, 0.59-0.74) for ≥3 falls.


A concept of frailty including psychological and cognitive markers is associated with both multiple falls and fractures. However, frailty is not superior to falls history for the selection of old persons at increased risk of recurrent falls.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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