Gerontology 2019 10;65(3):216-228. Epub 2018 Sep 10.
Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria,
Background: Sarcopenia and frailty are found in up to one-third of the general elderly population. Both are associated with major adverse health outcomes such as nursing home placement, disability, decreased quality of life, and death. Data on the frequency of both syndromes in Parkinson's disease (PD), however, are very limited.
Objective: We aimed to screen for sarcopenia and frailty in PD patients and to assess potential associations of both geriatric syndromes with demographic and clinical parameters as well as quality of life.
Methods: In this observational, cross-sectional study, we included 104 PD patients from a tertiary center and 330 non-PD controls from a population-based cohort aged > 65 years. All groups were screened for sarcopenia using the SARC-F score and for frailty using the Clinical Frailty Scale of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA CFS). Prevalence rates of sarcopenia and frailty were also assessed in 18 PD patients from a population-based cohort aged > 65 years. Moreover, PD patients from the tertiary center were evaluated for motor and non-motor symptoms, quality of life, and dependency.
Results: The prevalence of sarcopenia was 55.8% (95% CI: 46.2-64.9%) in PD patients from the tertiary center and 8.2% (5.7-11.7%; p < 0.001) in non-PD controls. Frailty was detected in 35.6% (27.0-45.2%) and 5.2% (3.2-8.1%; p < 0.001). Prevalence rates for sarcopenia and frailty were 33.3% (16.1-56.4%; p = 0.004) and 22.2% (8.5-45.8%; p = 0.017) in the community-based PD sample. Both sarcopenia and frailty were significantly associated with longer disease duration, higher motor impairment, higher Hoehn and Yahr stages, decreased quality of life, higher frequency of falls, a higher non-motor symptom burden, institutionalization, and higher care levels in PD patients from a tertiary center compared to not affected PD patients (all p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Both frailty and sarcopenia are more common in PD patients than in the general community and are associated with a more adverse course of the disease. Future studies should look into underlying risk factors for the occurrence of sarcopenia and frailty in PD patients and into adequate management to prevent and mitigate them.