Bidirectional Association Between Frailty and Cardiac Structure and Function: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Diego Ramonfaur, Hicham Skali, Brian Claggett, B. Gwen Windham, Priya Palta, Dalane Kitzman, Chiadi Ndumele, Suma Konety, Amil M. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Frailty and heart failure frequently coexist in late life. Limited data exist regarding the longitudinal associations of frailty and subclinical cardiac dysfunction. We aim to quantify the association of frailty with longitudinal changes in cardiac function and of cardiac function with progression in frailty status in older adults. METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities cohort underwent frailty assessments at Visit 5 (V5; 2011– 2013), V6 (2016– 2017), and V7 (2018– 2019), and echocardiographic assessments at V5 and V7. We assessed the association between frailty status at V5 and changes in frailty status from V5 to V7 and changes in cardiac function over 6 years. We then evaluated the association of cardiac function measured at Visit 5 with progression in frailty status over 4 years. Multivariable regression models adjusted for demographics and comorbidities. Among 2574 participants free of heart failure at V5 and V7 (age 74±4 years at V5 and 81±4 years at V7), 3% (n=83) were frail. Frailty at V5 was associated with greater left atrial volume index and E/e’ ratio at V5 and 7. Participants who transitioned from robust at V5 to frail at V7 demonstrated greater increases in left ventricular mass index, left atrial volume index, and E/e’ over the same period. Among 1648 robust participants at Visit 5, greater left ventricular mass index and mean wall thickness, lower tissue Doppler imaging e’, and higher E/e’ ratio at Visit 5 were associated with progression in frailty status. CONCLUSIONS: Among robust, older adults free of heart failure, progression in frailty and subclinical left ventricular remodeling and diastolic dysfunction are interrelated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere029458
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • LV function
  • echocardiography
  • epidemiology
  • frailty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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