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BACKGROUND: Current guidelines for healthcare of community-dwelling older people advocate screening for frailty to predict adverse health outcomes, but there is no consensus on the optimum instrument to use in such settings. The objective of this systematic review of population studies was to compare the ability of the frailty index (FI) and frailty phenotype (FP) instruments to predict all-cause mortality in older people. METHODS: Studies published before 27 July 2022 were identified using Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science and CINAHL databases. The eligibility criteria were population-based prospective studies of community-dwelling older adults (aged 65 years or older) and evaluation of both the FI and FP for prediction of all-cause mortality. The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network's Methodology checklist was used to assess study quality. The areas under the receiver operator characteristic curves (AUC) were compared, and the proportions of included studies that achieved acceptable discriminatory power (AUC>0.7) were calculated for each frailty instrument. The results were stratified by the use of continuous or categorical formats of each instrument. The review was reported in accordance with the PRISMA and SWiM guidelines. RESULTS: Among 8 studies (range: 909 to 7713 participants), both FI and FP had comparable predictive power for all-cause mortality. The AUC values ranged from 0.66 to 0.84 for FI continuous, 0.60 to 0.80 for FI categorical, 0.63 to 0.80 for FP continuous and 0.57 to 0.79 for FP categorical. The proportion of studies achieving acceptable discriminatory power were 75%, 50%, 63%, and 50%, respectively. The predictive ability of each frailty instrument was unaltered by the number of included items. CONCLUSIONS: Despite differences in their content, both the FI and FP instruments had modest but comparable ability to predict all-cause mortality. The use of continuous rather than categorical formats in either instrument enhanced their ability to predict all-cause mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


Syst Rev

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All-cause mortality, Discrimination, Frailty, Frailty index, Frailty phenotype, Predictive ability