Frailty and cognitive function in incident hemodialysis patients

Mara A. McAdams-Demarco, Jingwen Tan, Megan L. Salter, Alden Gross, Lucy A. Meoni, Bernard G. Jaar, Wen Hong Linda Kao, Rulan S. Parekh, Dorry L. Segev, Stephen M. Sozio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Background and objectives Patients of all ages undergoing hemodialysis (HD) have a high prevalence of cognitive impairment and worse cognitive function than healthy controls, and those with dementia are at high risk of death. Frailty has been associated with poor cognitive function in older adults without kidney disease. We hypothesized that frailty might also be associated with poor cognitive function in adults of all ages undergoing HD. Design, setting, participants, & measurements At HD initiation, 324 adults enrolled (November 2008 to July 2012) in a longitudinal cohort study (Predictors of Arrhythmic and Cardiovascular Risk in ESRD) were classified into three groups (frail, intermediately frail, and nonfrail) based on the Fried frailty phenotype. Global cognitive function (3MS) and speed/attention (Trail Making Tests A and B [TMTA and TMTB, respectively]) were assessed at cohort entry and 1-year follow-up. Associations between frailty and cognitive function (at cohort entry and 1-year follow-up) were evaluated in adjusted (for sex, age, race, body mass index, education, depression and comorbidity at baseline) linear (3MS, TMTA) and Tobit (TMTB) regression models. Results At cohort entry, the mean age was 54.8 years (SD 13.3), 56.5% were men, and 72.8% were black. The prevalence of frailty and intermediate frailty were 34.0% and 37.7%, respectively. The mean 3MS was 89.8 (SD 7.6), TMTA was 55.4 (SD 29), and TMTB was 161 (SD 83). Frailty was independently associated with lower cognitive function at cohort entry for all three measures (3MS: –2.4 points; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], -4.2 to –0.5; P=0.01; TMTA: 12.1 seconds; 95% CI, 4.7 to 19.4; P<0.001; and TMTB: 33.2 seconds; 95% CI, 9.9 to 56.4; P=0.01; all tests for trend, P<0.001) and with worse 3MS at 1-year follow-up (–2.8 points; 95% CI, –5.4 to –0.2; P=0.03). Conclusions In adult incident HD patients, frailty is associated with worse cognitive function, particularly global cognitive function (3MS).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2181-2189
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 7 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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