Frailty as a novel predictor of mortality and hospitalization in individuals of all ages undergoing hemodialysis

Mara A. McAdams-Demarco, Andrew Law, Megan L. Salter, Brian Boyarsky, Luis Gimenez, Bernard G. Jaar, Jeremy D. Walston, Dorry L. Segev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


Objectives To quantify the prevalence of frailty in adults of all ages undergoing chronic hemodialysis, its relationship to comorbidity and disability, and its association with adverse outcomes of mortality and hospitalization. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting Single hemodialysis center in Baltimore, Maryland. Participants One hundred forty-six individuals undergoing hemodialysis enrolled between January 2009 and March 2010 and followed through August 2012. Measurements Frailty, comorbidity, and disability on enrollment in the study and subsequent mortality and hospitalizations. Results At enrollment, 50.0% of older (≥65) and 35.4% of younger (<65) individuals undergoing hemodialysis were frail; 35.9% and 29.3%, respectively, were intermediately frail. Three-year mortality was 16.2% for nonfrail, 34.4% for intermediately frail, and 40.2% for frail participants. Intermediate frailty and frailty were associated with a 2.7 times (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.02-7.07, P =.046) and 2.6 times (95% CI = 1.04-6.49, P =.04) greater risk of death independent of age, sex, comorbidity, and disability. In the year after enrollment, median number of hospitalizations was 1 (interquartile range 0-3). The proportion with two or more hospitalizations was 28.2% for nonfrail, 25.5% for intermediately frail, and 42.6% for frail participants. Although intermediate frailty was not associated with number of hospitalizations (relative risk = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.49-1.16, P =.21), frailty was associated with 1.4 times (95% CI = 1.00-2.03, P =.049) more hospitalizations independent of age, sex, comorbidity, and disability. The association between frailty and mortality (interaction P =.64) and hospitalizations (P =.14) did not differ between older and younger participants. Conclusions Adults of all ages undergoing hemodialysis have a high prevalence of frailty, more than five times as high as community-dwelling older adults. In this population, regardless of age, frailty is a strong, independent predictor of mortality and number of hospitalizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)896-901
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • frailty
  • hemodialysis
  • hospitalization
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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