Frailty and atrial fibrillation: A systematic review

Emanuele R. Villani, Anita M. Tummolo, Katie Palmer, Ester Manes Gravina, Davide L. Vetrano, Roberto Bernabei, Graziano Onder, Nicola Acampora

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac arrhythmia and its prevalence increases with age. There is a significant correlation between frailty, morbidity and mortality in elderly patients with cardiovascular disease, but the relation between AF and frailty is still under debate. The aim of this study is to systematically review evidence on the association between AF and frailty. A systematic review of articles published between 02/01/2002 and 09/28/2017 according to PRISMA recommendations was carried out. PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase were searched for relevant articles. 11 studies were included; one longitudinal, 10 cross-sectional. Only 4 studies assessed the association of frailty with AF, while 7 studies were performed in a sample of participants with AF and did not provide any measure of association between these two conditions. The prevalence of frailty in AF patients ranged from 4.4%–75.4% while AF prevalence in the frail population ranged from 48.2%–75.4%. Selected studies enrolled an overall sample of 9420 participants. Among them, 2803 participants were diagnosed with AF and of these 1517 (54%) were frail and 1286 (46%) were pre-frail or robust. The four studies assessing the association of AF and frailty provided conflicting results. Evidence suggests that frailty is common in persons with AF. More research is needed to better assess the association of these conditions and to identify the optimal therapeutic approach to AF in persons with frailty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Elderly
  • Frailty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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