Rationale: Frailty prevalence estimates among individuals with COPD have varied widely, and few studies have investigated relationships between frailty and adverse outcomes in a COPD population.
Objective(s): Describe frailty prevalence among individuals with and without COPD and examine associations between frailty and mortality and other adverse outcomes in the next two years.
Methods: This was an observational cohort study using Health and Retirement Study data (2006– 2018) of community living individuals ages 50– 64 and ≥ 65 with and without COPD (non-COPD). Frailty (Fried phenotype [5 items], and a modified Frailty Index-Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment [Enhanced FI-CGA] [37 items], and debility (modified BODE Index [4 items]) were assessed. Two-year post-assessment outcomes (mortality, ≥ 1 inpatient stay, home health and skilled nursing facility (SNF) use) were reviewed in a population matched 3:1 (non-COPD: COPD) on age, sex, race, and year using univariate and multivariate logistic regression (adjusted for morbidities). Area-under-the-curve (AUC) was used to evaluate regressions.
Results: The study included 18,979 survey observations for age 50– 64, and 24,162 age ≥ 65; 7.8% and 12.0% respectively reporting a diagnosis of COPD. Fried phenotype frailty prevalence for age ≥ 65 was 23.1% (COPD) and 9.4% (non-COPD), and for the Enhanced FI-CGA, 45.9% (COPD) and 22.4% (non-COPD). Two-year mortality for COPD was more than double non-COPD for age 50– 64 (95% CI: 3.8– 5.9% vs 0.7– 1.3%) and age ≥ 65 (95% CI: 11.9– 14.3% vs 5.6– 6.6%). Inpatient utilization, home health care use, or at least temporary SNF placement were also more frequent for COPD. Measures were predictive of adverse outcomes. In adjusted models, the Fried phenotype and modified BODE score performed similarly, and both performed better than the Enhanced FI-CGA index. AUC values were higher for morality regressions.
Conclusion: Frailty prevalence among individuals with COPD in this national survey is substantially greater than without COPD, even at pre-retirement (50– 64 years). These measures identify patients with increased risk of poor outcomes.