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Editor's Correspondence
Feb 25, 2013

Gait Speed and High Blood Pressure

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Poliambulanza Hospital, Brescia, Italy (Dr Rozzini); and Geriatric Research Group, Brescia, Italy (Dr Trabucchi).

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(4):324-325. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1623

The article by Odden et al1 and the related commentary by Goodwin2 suggest that gait speed is an important vital sign in elderly persons and that the condition of frailty related with low speed may modulate the effect of blood pressure on survival.

We examined the association of gait speed and mortality in a sample of 461 elderly patients (mean [SD] age, 79.3 [7.0]; 72.1% female) consecutively admitted to a geriatric rehabilitation ward (Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Poliambulanza Hospital, Brescia, Italy) during a 12-month period. Patients underwent a multidimensional evaluation including physical and mental health using a standard protocol.3 Patients were divided into 4 strata of gait speed as assessed by the Physical Performance Test.4 Because gait speed is assumed to detect a condition of multiorgan frailty, patients with major stroke or hip fracture (diseases directly and severely affecting disability) were excluded from the study.

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