Characterizing Sex Differences in Physical Frailty Phenotypes in Heart Failure

Quin E. Denfeld, Beth A. Habecker, S. Albert Camacho, Mary Roberts Davis, Nandita Gupta, Shirin O. Hiatt, Mary E. Medysky, Jonathan Q. Purnell, Kerri Winters-Stone, Christopher S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Although women with heart failure (HF) are potentially more likely to be physically frail compared with men with HF, the underlying contributors to this sex difference are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to characterize sex differences in physical frailty phenotypes in HF. Methods: We prospectively enrolled adults with class I-IV HF. Physical frailty was measured with the frailty phenotype criteria. Symptoms of dyspnea, sleep-related impairment, pain interference, depression, and anxiety were assessed. Body composition was measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Simple comparative statistics and stepwise regression modeling were used. Results: The average age of the sample (n=115) was 63.6±15.7 years, 49% were women, and 73% had nonischemic cause. Forty-three percent of the sample was physically frail. Women had a 4.6 times greater odds of being physically frail compared with men, adjusting for covariates (odds ratio=4.63 [95% CI, 1.81-11.84], P=0.001). Both physically frail men and women were characterized by more type 2 diabetes, higher comorbidity burden, and worse dyspnea symptoms. Physically frail women had significantly worse symptoms compared with non-physically frail women but no difference in body composition characteristics. Physically frail men had significantly lower appendicular muscle mass, higher percent fat, lower hemoglobin, and more depressive symptoms compared with non-physically frail men. Conclusions: Women are significantly more likely to be physically frail compared with men in HF. Physical frailty in both women and men is characterized by comorbidities and worse symptoms; physical frailty in men is characterized by worse physiological characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E008076
JournalCirculation: Heart Failure
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • dyspnea
  • frailty
  • heart failure
  • phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterizing Sex Differences in Physical Frailty Phenotypes in Heart Failure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this