Association between Wearable Device-Based Measures of Physical Frailty and Major Adverse Events following Lower Extremity Revascularization

Bijan Najafi, Narek Veranyan, Alejandro Zulbaran-Rojas, Catherine Park, Hung Nguyen, Quinn Kaleikaumaka Nakahara, Hector Elizondo-Adamchik, Jayer Chung, Joseph L. Mills, Miguel Montero-Baker, David G. Armstrong, Vincent Rowe

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16 Scopus citations


Importance: Physical frailty is a key risk factor associated with higher rates of major adverse events (MAEs) after surgery. Assessing physical frailty is often challenging among patients with chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) who are often unable to perform gait-based assessments because of the presence of plantar wounds. Objective: To test a frailty meter (FM) that does not rely on gait to determine the risk of occurrence of MAEs after revascularization for patients with CLTI. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study included 184 consecutively recruited patients with CLTI at 2 tertiary care centers. After 32 individuals were excluded, 152 participants were included in the study. Data collection was conducted between May 2018 and June 2019. Exposures: Physical frailty measurement within 1 week before limb revascularization and incidence of MAEs for as long as 1 month after surgery. Main Outcomes and Measures: The FM works by quantifying weakness, slowness, rigidity, and exhaustion during a 20-second repetitive elbow flexion-extension exercise using a wrist-worn sensor. The FM generates a frailty index (FI) ranging from 0 to 1; higher values indicate progressively greater severity of physical frailty. Results: Of 152 eligible participants (mean [SD] age, 67.0 [11.8] years; 59 [38.8%] women), 119 (78.2%) were unable to perform the gait test, while all could perform the FM test. Overall, 53 (34.9%), 58 (38.1%), and 41 (27.0%) were classified as robust (FI <0.20), prefrail (FI ≥0.20 to <0.35), or frail (FI ≥0.35), respectively. Within 30 days after surgery, 24 (15.7%) developed MAEs, either major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE; 8 [5.2%]) or major adverse limb events (MALE; 16 [10.5%]). Baseline demographic characteristics were not significantly different between frailty groups. In contrast, the FI was approximately 30% higher in the group that developed MAEs (mean [SD] score, 0.36 [0.14]) than those who were MAE free (mean [SD] score, 0.26 [0.13]; P =.001), with observed MAE rates of 4 patients (7.5%), 7 patients (12.1%), and 13 patients (31.7%) in the robust, prefrail and frail groups, respectively (P =.004). The FI distinguished individuals who developed MACE and MALE from those who were MAE free (MACE: mean [SD] FI score, 0.38 [0.16]; P =.03; MALE: mean [SD] FI score, 0.35 [0.13]; P =.004) after adjusting by body mass index. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, measuring physical frailty using a wrist-worn sensor during a short upper extremity test was a practical method for stratifying the risk of MAEs following revascularization for CLTI when the administration of gait-based tests is often challenging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020161
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 19 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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