Rodríguez-Mañas L, Féart C, Mann G, et al.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2013;68:62-7

Frailty as a concept has gained importance in recent years due to the need to better understand the health and quality of life of the elderly and the need to address diseases and clinical problems later in life. However, in terms of clinical applicability, definitions of frailty have largely remained fragmented or incomplete. This article summarizes the results of a working group of experts from a variety of fields related to frailty, who aimed to develop a complete and concrete definition of frailty for clinical use.

Through using the Delphi process, a structured series of expert meetings and questionnaires that together are well-suited for consensus building, the authors found that 44% of statements surrounding the concept of frailty and 18% of the statements surrounding diagnostic criteria were eventually accepted. In addition, the value of frailty screening was confirmed. Six domains of frailty were identified for inclusion in a potential frailty definition (physical performance, gait speed, mobility, nutritional status, mental health, and cognition). However, laboratory tests/values were not universally agreed upon as diagnostic markers for frailty. At this point, additional experimental work is required in order to more firmly establish specific clinical and laboratory biomarkers that would define frailty in clear clinical terms.

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