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.