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Logo of bmcgeriBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Geriatrics
 
BMC Geriatr. 2012; 12: 58.
Published online 2012 September 25. doi:  10.1186/1471-2318-12-58
PMCID: PMC3490887

A pilot randomized controlled trial to improve geriatric frailty

Abstract

Background

Few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) report interventions targeting improvement of frailty status as an outcome.

Methods

This RCT enrolled 117 older adults (65-79 years of age) in Toufen, Taiwan who scored 3-6 on The Chinese Canadian Study of Health and Aging Clinical Frailty Scale Telephone Version and then score ≥1 on the Cardiovascular Health Study Phenotypic Classification of Frailty (CHS_PCF). With a two by two factorial design, subjects were randomly assigned to interventions (Exercise and nutrition, EN, n = 55 or problem solving therapy, PST, n = 57) or controls (non-EN, n = 62 or non-PST, n = 60). Educational booklets were provided to all. EN group subjects received nutrition consultation and a thrice-weekly exercise-training program while PST group subjects received 6 sessions in 3 month. Subjects were followed at 3, 6, and 12 months. Primary outcome was improvement of the CHS_PCF by at least one category (from pre-frail to robust, or from frail to pre-frail or robust) from baseline assessments. One hundred and one completed final assessments. Intention-to-treat analysis with the generalized estimating equation model was applied with adjustment for time and treatment-by-time interactions.

Results

Mean age was 71.4 ± 3.7 years, with 59% females. Baseline characteristic were generally comparable between groups. EN group subjects had a higher improvement rate on the primary outcome than non-EN group subjects (45% vs 27%, adjusted p = 0.008) at 3 months, but not 6 or 12 months. They also had more increase of serum 25(OH) vitamin D level (4.9 ± 7.7 vs 1.2 ± 5.4, p = 0.006) and lower percentage of osteopenia (74% vs 89% p = 0.042) at 12 months. PST group subjects had better improvement (2.7 ± 6.1 vs 0.2 ± 6.7, p = 0.035, 6-month) and less deterioration (−3.5 ± 9.7 vs −7.1 ± 8.7, p = 0.036, 12-month) of dominant leg extension power than non-PST subjects. Some secondary outcomes were also improved in control groups (non-EN or non-PST). No adverse effects were reported.

Conclusions

The three-month EN intervention resulted in short-term (3-month) frailty status improvement and long-term effect on bone mineral density and serum vitamin D (12-month) among Taiwanese community-dwelling elders. The effect of PST was less pronounce.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov: EC0970301

Keywords: Frailty, Aged, Intervention, Effectiveness, Community

Articles from BMC Geriatrics are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central