Summary Frailty is a central concept in geriatric medicine, but without a clear definition. Many regard it as a syndrome with its own clinical manifestations and pathophysiology, whilst others consider it to be the result of the accumulation of age-related deficits that predict adverse changes in health. We analysed, through a systematic review, the definitions and markers of the frailty syndrome. Twenty-five articles were included and divided, according to design, into observational, intervention, review and qualitative studies. There was a predominance of operational definitions that used only physical markers to identify frailty. The only qualitative study found that health professionals chose a multidimensional definition that took into account factors other than just the physical. We conclude that there is still no standard definition or agreement about markers of the frailty syndrome. Cambridge University Press 2010.
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