Candidate biomarkers of physical frailty in heart failure: an exploratory cross-sectional study

Quin E. Denfeld, Jonathan Q. Purnell, Christopher Lee, Eric S. Orwoll, S. Albert Camacho, Shirin O. Hiatt, Mary Roberts Davis, Kerri Winters-Stone, William R. Woodward, Beth A. Habecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


AIMS: Physical frailty is highly prevalent and predictive of worse outcomes in heart failure (HF). Candidate biomarker analysis may help in understanding the mechanisms underlying physical frailty in HF. We aimed to identify candidate biomarkers associated with physical frailty in HF using a multimarker strategy of distinct pathophysiological processes. METHODS AND RESULTS: We collected data and plasma samples from 113 adults with New York Heart Association Functional Class I-IV HF. Physical frailty was measured with the Frailty Phenotype Criteria. Plasma biomarkers included: N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, norepinephrine, dihydroxyphenylglycol, soluble tumour necrosis factor alpha receptor-1, adiponectin, insulin, glucose, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and myostatin. Comparative statistics and multivariate linear regression were used to test group differences and associations. The average age was 63.5 ± 15.7 years, half were women (48%), and most had a non-ischaemic aetiology of HF (73%). Physical frailty was identified in 42% and associated with female sex, higher body mass index and percent body fat, more comorbidities, and HF with preserved ejection fraction. Adjusting for Seattle HF Model projected survival score, comorbidities, body composition, and sex, physical frailty was associated with significantly lower plasma adiponectin [β ± standard error (SE) -0.28 ± 0.14, P = 0.047], IGF-1 (β ± SE -0.21 ± 0.10, P = 0.032), and myostatin (β ± SE -0.22 ± 0.09, P = 0.011). In sex-stratified analyses, IGF-1 and myostatin were significantly associated with physical frailty in men but not women. CONCLUSION: We identified biomarkers involved in adipose tissue and skeletal muscle development, maintenance, and function that were associated with physical frailty in HF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • Biomarkers
  • Frailty
  • Heart failure
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medical–Surgical
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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