Hand-grip dynamometry predicts future outcomes in aging adults

J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2008;31(1):3-10. doi: 10.1519/00139143-200831010-00002.


Background and purpose: One use of clinical measures is the prediction of future outcomes. The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize the literature addressing the value of grip strength as a predictor of important outcomes.

Methods: Relevant literature was located using 4 bibliographic databases, searching article reference lists, and perusing personal files.

Results: Forty-five relevant research articles were found. The research involved both healthy subjects and patients; it tended to focus on middle-aged and older adults. The primary outcome addressed was mortality/survival (24 articles), but disability (9 articles), complications and/or increased length of stay (12 articles), and other outcomes were also examined. Low grip strength was shown consistently to be associated with a greater likelihood of premature mortality, the development of disability, and an increased risk of complications or prolonged length of stay after hospitalization or surgery.

Conclusions: Given its predictive validity and simplicity, dynamometrically measured grip strength should be considered as a vital sign useful for screening middle-aged and older adults.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Hand Strength*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis