• Christophe J. BülaEmail author
  • Manuel Sanchez Perez
  • Laurence Seematter Bagnoud


Frailty is a common clinical syndrome in older adults, usually resulting from the accumulation of decline in physiological processes, function, and reserve in multiple organs or systems. Its prevalence among community-dwelling older adults ranges from 5% to 7% in persons aged 65–74 years to more than 20% in those aged 85 years and over. Through increased vulnerability to stressors, frailty is associated with numerous adverse outcomes such as falls, functional decline, hospital admission, nursing home admission, and death. The frailty process often remains undetected until later stages, when reversibility is no longer possible. Therefore, several definitions of frailty have been proposed, without reaching consensus, and most are too cumbersome to be implemented in clinical routine. Thus, another way of screening for frailty in practice is to rely on comprehensive geriatric assessment. The comprehensive geriatric approach, although not specific to frailty, allows setting up interventions targeting underlying health problems related to frailty and has shown beneficial in preventing the occurrence and consequences of this syndrome. Among specific interventions tested to prevent or reverse frailty, exercise and, to a lesser extent, nutrition appear as the most effective ones, while no pharmacological treatment showed conclusive benefit.


Frailty Vulnerability Disability Dependence Elderly 



Hazard ratio (from Cox proportional models analysis)


Odds ratio (from logistic regression analysis)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christophe J. Büla
    • 1
    Email author
  • Manuel Sanchez Perez
    • 2
  • Laurence Seematter Bagnoud
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Service of Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Rehabilitation, Department of MedicineUniversity of Lausanne Medical Center (CHUV)LausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Unit of Geriatric PsychiatrySagrat Cor HospitalBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of Lausanne Medical Center (CHUV)LausanneSwitzerland

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