Management of frailty: a protocol of a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
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BACKGROUND: Frailty is a common syndrome affecting 5-17% of community-dwelling older adults. Various interventions are used to prevent or treat frailty. Given the diversity of singular and multi-faceted frailty interventions, not all of them have been compared in head-to-head studies. Network meta-analyses provide an approach to simultaneous consideration of the relative effectiveness of multiple treatment alternatives. This systematic review and network meta-analysis of RCTs aims to determine the comparative effect of interventions targeting the prevention or treatment of frailty. METHOD: We will identify relevant RCTs, in any language and publication date, by a systematic search of databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), HealthSTAR, DARE, PsychINFO, PEDro, SCOPUS, and Scielo. Duplicate title and abstract and full-text screening will be performed. Authors will extract data and assess risk of bias (using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool) of eligible studies. The review interventions will include (1) physical activity only, (2) physical activity with protein supplementation or other nutritional supplementation, (3) psychosocial intervention, (4) medication management, (5) pharmacotherapy, and (6) multi-faceted intervention (defined as an intervention that combine physical activity and/or nutrition with any of the following: (1) psychosocial intervention, (2) medication management, and (3) pharmacotherapy). Our primary outcome is difference in change of physical frailty from baseline measured by a reliable and valid frailty measure. Secondary outcomes and the assessments are (1) cognition, (2) short physical performance battery, (3) any other physical performance measure, (4) treatment cost, (5) quality of life, and (6) any adverse outcome. We will conduct a network meta-analysis using a Bayesian hierarchical model. We will also estimate the ranking probabilities for all treatments at each possible rank for each intervention and will assess the certainty of the estimates of effect using GRADE approach. DISCUSSION: To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first systematic review and network meta-analysis considering the direct and indirect effect of interventions targeting frailty prevention or treatment. Given the established high prevalence and socio-economic burden of frailty, there is an urgent need for a high-quality systematic review to inform evidence-based management of frailty. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO 2016 CRD42016037465 .
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