Management of Frailty: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To analyze and determine the comparative effectiveness of interventions targeting frailty prevention or treatment on frailty as a primary outcome and quality of life, cognition, depression, and adverse events as secondary outcomes. DESIGN: Systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA). METHODS: Data sources-Relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified by a systematic search of several electronic databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and AMED. Duplicate title and abstract and full-text screening, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment were performed. Data extraction-All RCTs examining frailty interventions aimed to decrease frailty were included. Comparators were standard care, placebo, or another intervention. Data synthesis-We performed both standard pairwise meta-analysis and Bayesian NMA. Dichotomous outcome data were pooled using the odds ratio effect size, whereas continuous outcome data were pooled using the standardized mean difference (SMD) effect size. Interventions were ranked using the surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) for each outcome. The quality of evidence was evaluated using the GRADE approach. RESULTS: A total of 66 RCTs were included after screening of 7090 citations and 749 full-text articles. NMA of frailty outcome (including 21 RCTs, 5262 participants, and 8 interventions) suggested that the physical activity intervention, when compared to placebo and standard care, was associated with reductions in frailty (SMD -0.92, 95% confidence interval -1.55, -0.29). According to SUCRA, physical activity intervention and physical activity plus nutritional supplementation were probably the most effective intervention (100% and 71% likelihood, respectively) to reduce frailty. Physical activity was probably the most effective or the second most effective interventions for all included outcomes. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Physical activity is one of the most effective frailty interventions. The quality of evidence of the current review is low and very low. More robust RCTs are needed to increase the confidence of our NMA results and the quality of evidence.


  • Negm, Ahmed M
  • Kennedy, Courtney C
  • Thabane, Lehana
  • Veroniki, Areti-Angeliki
  • Adachi, Jonathan Derrick
  • Richardson, Julie
  • Cameron, Ian D
  • Giangregorio, Aidan
  • Petropoulou, Maria
  • Alsaad, Saad M
  • Alzahrani, Jamaan
  • Maaz, Muhammad
  • Ahmed, Muhammad M
  • Kim, Eileen
  • Tehfe, Hadi
  • Dima, Robert
  • Sabanayagam, Kalyani
  • Hewston, Patricia
  • Abu Alrob, Hajar
  • Papaioannou, Alexandra

publication date

  • October 2019