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Heartbeat: Highlights from this issue
  1. Catherine M Otto
  1. Correspondence to Professor Catherine M Otto, Division of Cardiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; cmotto{at}u.washington.edu

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In countries, such as the UK and USA, with increasing populations of elderly patients, the presence of frailty is associated with increased health and social needs as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The association of frailty with CVD risk factors was addressed in a cross-sectional study of 1622 men aged 71 to 92 years who had been prospectively enrolled in the British Regional Heart Study in 1978–1980. (See page 616) Overall, 19% of these men were frail and an additional 54% were pre-frail, with frailty defined as a clinical syndrome consisting of 3 or more of the following features: unintentional weight loss, symptoms of exhaustion, low grip strength, slow walking speed and low physical activity. Compared to non-frail men, frailty was associated with obesity, high waist circumference, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, hypertension, poor lung and renal function and a higher heart rate.

In an accompanying editorial, Prof Ralph Stewart (See page 582) comments that “although causal pathways are uncertain, it is possible that common lifestyle and socioeconomic factors increase the risk of both frailty and cardiovascular disease in later life (see …

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