Development and Initial Validation of a Frailty Score for Pediatric Patients with Congenital and Acquired Heart Disease.

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DOI: 10.1007/s00246-022-03045-1


Frailty is a multi-dimensional clinical syndrome that is associated with increased morbidity and mortality and decreased quality of life. Children/adolescents with heart disease (HD) perform significantly worse for each frailty domain compared to non-HD peers. Our study aimed to create a composite frailty score (CFS) that can be applied to children/adolescents with HD and evaluate associations between the CFS and outcomes. Children and adolescents (n = 30) with HD (73% single ventricle, 20% heart failure, 7% pulmonary hypertension) were recruited from 2016 to 2017 (baseline). Five frailty domains were assessed at baseline using measures validated for pediatrics: (1) Slowness: 6-min walk test; (2) Weakness: handgrip strength; (3) Fatigue: PedsQL Multi-dimensional Fatigue Scale; (4) Body composition: triceps skinfold thickness; and (5) Physical activity questionnaire. Frailty points per domain (range = 0-5) were assigned based on z-scores or raw questionnaire scores and summed to produce a CFS (0 = least frail; 25 = most frail). Nonparametric bootstrapping was used to identify correlations between CFS and cross-sectional change in outcomes over 2.2 ± 0.2 years. The mean CFS was 12.5 ± 3.5. In cross-sectional analyses of baseline data, correlations (|r|≥ 0.30) were observed between CFS and NYHA class, the number of ancillary specialists, total prescribed medications, heart failure medications/day, exercise test derived chronotropic index and percent predicted VO2peak, and between child and parent proxy PEDsQL. At follow-up, CFS was correlated with an increase in the number of heart failure medications (r = 0.31). CFS was associated with cross-sectional outcomes in youth with heart disease. Longitudinal analyses were limited by small sample sizes due to loss to follow-up.

Journal Title

Pediatric cardiology





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Humans; Child; Frailty; Quality of Life; Cross-Sectional Studies; Hand Strength; Heart Diseases; Heart Failure; Fatigue


Congenital heart disease (CHD); Fontan; Heart failure; Pediatric cardiology; Pulmonary hypertension; Quality of life

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