Variable effect of comorbidity on the association of chronic cardiac failure with disability in community-dwelling older persons

Niccoló Marchionni, Mauro Di Bari, Stefano Fumagalli, Luigi Ferrucci, Giorgio Baldereschi, Maurizio Timpanelli, Giulio Masotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The effect of cardiac failure (CF) and comorbidity on disability in older persons was studied in a cross-sectional survey. The whole population aged 65 + years (n = 652; 628 eligible) living in a small town near Florence (Italy) was enrolled. Finally, 459 individuals (73.0% of eligible) underwent a multidimensional evaluation. CF was:defined as a NYHA II-IV class in the presence of an obviously abnormal EGG. Disability was assessed by the 14-item WHO scale. Comorbid conditions that had a prevalence > 5% and might be considered pathophysiologically unrelated to CF were also identified. The univariate association of CF with disability was analyzed. Multivariate associations were estimated as well, by taking simultaneously into account the effect of comorbid conditions that had an independent effect on disability and were considered as either confounders or effect modifiers of that association. Prevalence of CF [6.1% in the whole study population) was higher with advancing age (≤ 75 years: 8.3 versus 65-74 years: 4.5%, odds ratio, OR: 1.93, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.02-4.18), in the presence of hypertension (OR: 2.87, 95% CI: 1.32-6.23), and among individuals who were living alone (OR: 2.44, 95% CI: 1.10-5.56). CF was associated with a higher prevalence of disability (38.5 versus 19.5%; OR 2.67, 95% CI: 1.21-5.92). Comorbidity modified the association of CF with disability following two patterns: while the independent effect of CF on the prevalence of disability was similar in the absence or in the presence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hearing impairment, gastrointestinal tract disease, or osteoarthritis, such effect was much larger in the presence than in the absence of visual impairment, previous stroke, or urinary incontinence. The composite pathophysiological pathways of such different interactions are still to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac failure
  • Chronic diseases
  • Comorbidity
  • Disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Variable effect of comorbidity on the association of chronic cardiac failure with disability in community-dwelling older persons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this