Frailty increases the long-term risk for fall and fracture-related hospitalizations and all-cause mortality in community-dwelling older women

Elsa Dent, Jack Dalla Via, Trent Bozanich, Emiel O. Hoogendijk, Abadi K. Gebre, Cassandra Smith, Kun Zhu, Richard L. Prince, Joshua R. Lewis, Marc Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Frailty is associated with declines in physiological capacity across sensory, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems. An underlying assumption is that the frailer an individual, the more likely they are to experience falls and fractures. We examined whether grades of frailty can assess the long-term risk of hospitalized falls, fractures, and all-cause mortality in 1261 community-dwelling older women (mean age [SD] of 75.1 [2.7] yr) over 14.5 yr. Frailty was operationalized using a frailty index (FI) of cumulative deficits from 33 variables across multiple health domains (physical, mental, comorbidities) at baseline. The total score across these variables was summed and divided by 33 to obtain the FI. Participants were graded as fit (FI ≤ 0.12), mildly frail (FI > 0.12-0.24), moderately frail (FI > 0.24-0.36), or severely frail (FI > 0.36). Fall-related (n = 498), any fracture-related (n = 347), and hip fracture-related hospitalizations (n = 137) and deaths (n = 482) were obtained from linked health records. Associations between FI grades and clinical outcomes were analyzed using multivariable-adjusted Cox-proportional hazard models including age, treatment (calcium/placebo), BMI, smoking history, socioeconomic status, plasma vitamin D (25OHD) status plus season obtained, physical activity, self-reported prevalent falls in the last 3 mo, and self-reported fractures since the age of 50 yr. At baseline, 713 (56.5%), 350 (27.8%), 163 (12.9%), and 35 (2.8%) of women were classified as fit, mildly frail, moderately frail, and severely frail, respectively. Women with mild, moderate, and severe frailty had significantly higher hazards (all P < .05) for a fall-related (46%, 104%, 168%), any fracture-related (88% for moderate, 193% for severe frailty), hip fracture-related hospitalizations (93%, 127%, 129%), and all-cause mortality (47%, 126%, 242%). The FI identified community-dwelling older women at risk for the most serious falls and fractures and may be incorporated into risk assessment tools to identify individuals with poorer clinical prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bone and mineral research : the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Frailty increases the long-term risk for fall and fracture-related hospitalizations and all-cause mortality in community-dwelling older women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this