Objectives: To develop and validate a clinical frailty index to characterize aging among responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) attacks. Methods: This study was conducted on health monitoring data on a sample of 6197 responders. A clinical frailty index, WTC FI-Clinical, was developed according to the cumulative deficit model of frailty. The validity of the resulting index was assessed using all-cause mortality as an endpoint. Its association with various cohort characteristics was evaluated. Results: The sample’s median age was 51 years. Thirty items were selected for inclusion in the index. It showed a strong correlation with age, as well as significant adjusted associations with mortality, 9/11 exposure severity, sex, race, pre-9/11 occupation, education, and smoking status. Discussion: The WTC FI-Clinical highlights effects of certain risk factors on aging within the 9/11 responder cohort. It will serve as a useful instrument for monitoring and tracking frailty within this cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-544
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • 9/11 responders
  • World Trade Center cohort
  • frailty index


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