NYMC Faculty Publications


Frailty as a Predictor of Falls in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Women

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January 2019


Public Health


BACKGROUND: Frailty and falls occur commonly and prematurely in HIV-infected populations. Whether frailty in middle-age predicts future falls among HIV-infected women is unknown. METHODS: We evaluated associations of frailty with single and recurrent falls 10 years later among 729 HIV-infected and 326 uninfected women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) with frailty measured in 2005 and self-reported falls in 2014-2016. Frailty was defined as >/=3 of 5 Fried Frailty Index components: slow gait, reduced grip strength, exhaustion, unintentional weight loss and low physical activity. Stepwise logistic regression models determined odds of single (versus 0) or recurrent falls (>/=2 versus 0) during the 2-year period; separate models evaluated frailty components. RESULTS: HIV-infected women were older (median 42 versus 39 years; P<0.0001) and more often frail (14% versus 9%; P=0.04) than uninfected women. Over 2 years, 40% of HIV-infected versus 39% of uninfected women reported a fall (single fall in 15% HIV+ versus 18% HIV- women; recurrent falls in 25% HIV+ versus 20% HIV- women [overall P=0.20]). In multivariate models, frailty independently predicted recurrent falls (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.84, 95% CI: 1.13, 2.97; P=0.01), but not a single fall. Among frailty components, unintentional weight loss independently predicted single fall (aOR 2.31, 95% CI: 1.28, 4.17; P=0.005); unintentional weight loss (aOR 2.26, 95% CI: 1.32, 3.86; P=0.003) and exhaustion (aOR 1.66, 95% CI: 1.10, 2.50; P=0.02) independently predicted recurrent falls. CONCLUSIONS: Early frailty measurement among middle-aged women with or at-risk for HIV may be a useful tool to assess future fall risk.