Anemia and the frailty syndrome amongst the elderly living in the community: a systematic review

Abstract Objective: To evaluate the association between anemia and the onset of the frailty syndrome amongst the elderly living in the community. Method: A systematic literature review of articles from the MEDLINE and LILACS databases published in English, Spanish and Portuguese over the last ten years was carried out. Articles were included in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Results: The search identified 193 studies. After deleting duplicated articles and applying the exclusion criteria only seven articles remained. Three articles used standardized criteria to define frailty, whereas four evaluated functional capacity as a synonym for the frailty syndrome. Conclusion: Anemia was related to a worsening of functional capacity and to the presence of the frailty syndrome in elderly persons living in the community. However, the risk of bias in the studies was high in relation to the selection of the criteria and instruments used to assess and define frailty.