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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-97

Frailty and flow-mediated dilation: A pilot study in hospitalized elderly

Department for Cardiovascular Disease, Italian National Research Center on Aging, Fermo, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Elpidio Santillo
Dipartimento Geriatrico Riabilitativo ad Indirizzo Cerebro.Cardiovascolare, Italian National Research Center on Aging, Fermo 63900
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2455-3069.198368

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Background: Frail elderly persons, who are characterized by a greater vulnerability to stressing factors, often present with comorbid cardiovascular diseases. Endothelial dysfunction, a pathological process involved in the development of cardiovascular diseases, can be examined noninvasively through the technique of flow-mediated dilation (FMD). We studied a group of hospitalized elderly persons analyzing their endothelial function by FMD aiming to investigate the relationship between their frailty status and endothelial dysfunction. Materials and Methods: Thirty hospitalized elderly patients were evaluated by ultrasound examination of endothelium-dependent vasodilation of the brachial artery. The Study of Osteoporotic Fracture Criteria for Frailty index was used for the definition of frailty status of enrolled cases. Results: Statistical analysis revealed the existence of significant associations between frailty status, ischemic heart disease (P = 0.013 by Chi-square), and cognitive impairment (P = 0.001 by Chi-square). Moreover, frail cases showed lower values of diastolic blood pressure (61 mm Hg vs. 71 mm Hg P< 0.001 by Student's t-test) and a reduced FMD compared to not frail ones (5.45% vs. 10.42%, P= 0.021 by Student's t-test). Conclusions: The identification of reduced FMD in frail elderly may suggest endothelial dysfunction as a pathological “common ground” shared by cardiovascular diseases and frailty. FMD could help clinicians in the management of elderly at risk of developing frailty and cardiovascular disease. In further multicenter studies, FMD could be used to evaluate which early interventions have the potential of preventing the disastrous consequences related to both cardiovascular events and frailty.

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