Perceived Age as a Mortality and Comorbidity Predictor: A Systematic Review

Francisco R. Avila, Ricardo A. Torres-Guzman, Karla C. Maita, John P. Garcia, Clifton R. Haider, Olivia A. Ho, Rickey E. Carter, Christopher J. McLeod, Charles J. Bruce, Antonio J. Forte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Perceived age is defined as how old a person looks to external evaluators. It reflects the underlying biological age, which is a measure based on physical and physiological parameters reflecting a person’s aging process more accurately than chronological age. People with a higher biological age have shorter lives compared to those with a lower biological age with the same chronological age. Our review aims to find whether increased perceived age is a risk factor for overall mortality risk or comorbidities. Methods: A literature search of three databases was conducted following the PRISMA guidelines for studies analyzing perceived age or isolated facial characteristics of old age and their relationship to mortality risk or comorbidity outcomes. Data on the number of patients, type and characteristics of evaluation methods, evaluator characteristics, mean chronologic age, facial characteristics studied, measured outcomes, and study results were collected. Results: Out of 977 studies, 15 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. These studies found an increase in mortality risk of 6–51% in older-looking people compared to controls (HR 1.06–1.51, p < 0.05). In addition, perceived age and some facial characteristics of old age were also associated with cardiovascular risk and myocardial infarction, cognitive function, bone mineral density, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Conclusion: Perceived age promises to be a clinically useful predictor of overall mortality and cardiovascular, pulmonary, cognitive, and osseous comorbidities. Level of Evidence III: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-454
Number of pages13
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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