Reproducibility and responsiveness of the Frailty Index and Frailty Phenotype in older hospitalized patients

Marlies Feenstra, Frederike M M Oud, Carolien J Jansen, Nynke Smidt, Barbara C van Munster, Sophia E de Rooij

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Background: There is growing interest for interventions aiming at preventing frailty progression or even to reverse frailty in older people, yet it is still unclear which frailty instrument is most appropriate for measuring change scores over time to determine the effectiveness of interventions. The aim of this prospective cohort study was to determine reproducibility and responsiveness properties of the Frailty Index (FI) and Frailty Phenotype (FP) in acutely hospitalized medical patients aged 70 years and older. Methods: Reproducibility was assessed by Intra-Class Correlation Coefficients (ICC), standard error of measurement (SEM) and smallest detectable change (SDC); Responsiveness was assessed by the standardized response mean (SRM), and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). Results: At baseline, 243 patients were included with a median age of 76 years (range 70–98). The analytic samples included 192 and 187 patients in the three and twelve months follow-up analyses, respectively. ICC of the FI were 0.85 (95 % confidence interval [CI]: 0.76; 0.91) and 0.84 (95% CI: 0.77; 0.90), and 0.65 (95% CI: 0.49; 0.77) and 0.77 (95% CI: 0.65; 0.84) for the FP. SEM ranged from 5 to 13 %; SDC from 13 to 37 %. SRMs were good in patients with unchanged frailty status (< 0.50), and doubtful to good for deteriorated and improved patients (0.43–1.00). AUC’s over three months were 0.77 (95% CI: 0.69; 0.86) and 0.71 (95% CI: 0.62; 0.79) for the FI, and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.58; 0.77) and 0.65 (95% CI: 0.55; 0.74) for the FP. Over twelve months, AUCs were 0.78 (95% CI: 0.69; 0.87) and 0.82 (95% CI: 0.73; 0.90) for the FI, and 0.78 (95% CI: 0.69; 0.87) and 0.75 (95% CI: 0.67; 0.84) for the FP. Conclusions: The Frailty Index showed better reproducibility and responsiveness properties compared to the Frailty Phenotype among acutely hospitalized older patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number499
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • aged
  • 80 and over
  • frail elderly
  • frailty/diagnosis
  • geriatric assessment
  • humans
  • phenotype
  • prospective studies
  • reproducibility of results


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