Frailty and Risk of Serious Infections in Biologic-treated Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Siddharth Singh, Herbert C. Heien, Lindsey Sangaralingham, Nilay D. Shah, Jennifer C. Lai, William J. Sandborn, Alison A. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Identifying biologic-treated patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) at higher risk of serious infections is a priority. We conducted a retrospective cohort study evaluating frailty and risk of serious infections in biologic-treated patients with IBD. Methods: Using an administrative claims database, we identified biologic-treated patients with IBD between 2014 and 2018 with follow-up 1 year before and after treatment initiation. Using a validated claims-based hospital frailty risk scoring system, patients were classified as frail and nonfrail. We compared the risk of serious infections (infections requiring hospitalization) between frail and nonfrail patients using Cox proportional hazard analysis adjusting for age, comorbidities, disease characteristics, health care utilization, use of corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and opiates. Results: We included 5987 biologic-treated patients with IBD (4881 on TNFα antagonists, 1106 on vedolizumab), of whom 2350 (39.3%) were classified as frail; over 7115 person-years of follow-up was included, and 520 patients developed serious infection. Frailty was not associated with increased risk of serious infection (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.12; 95% CI, 0.93-1.36), whereas advanced age (older than 60 years), high comorbidity burden, corticosteroid use, opiate use, and prior serious infection were associated with increased risk of serious infection. On stratified analysis, frailty was associated with increased risk of serious infections in vedolizumab-treated patients (aHR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.03-2.79) but not in TNFα antagonist-treated patients (aHR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.83-1.27). Conclusions: In biologic-treated patients with IBD, frailty assessed using a claims-based frailty index was not independently associated with increased risk of serious infections. Future studies evaluating objective and biological measures of frailty are warranted to risk-stratify older patients with IBD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1626-1633
Number of pages8
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • colitis
  • debility
  • enteritis
  • immune suppression
  • infestation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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