Background & aims: Among all muscle function tests, measurement of hand grip strength has gained attention as a simple, non-invasive marker of muscle strength of upper extremities, well suitable for clinical use. This review outlines the prognostic relevance of grip strength in various clinical and epidemiologic settings and investigates its suitability as marker of nutritional status in cross-sectional as well as intervention studies.
Methods: Studies investigating grip strength as prognostic marker or nutritional parameter in cross-sectional or intervention studies were summarized.
Results and conclusions: Numerous clinical and epidemiological studies have shown the predictive potential of hand grip strength regarding short and long-term mortality and morbidity. In patients, impaired grip strength is an indicator of increased postoperative complications, increased length of hospitalization, higher rehospitalisation rate and decreased physical status. In elderly in particular, loss of grip strength implies loss of independence. Epidemiological studies have moreover demonstrated that low grip strength in healthy adults predicts increased risk of functional limitations and disability in higher age as well as all-cause mortality. As muscle function reacts early to nutritional deprivation, hand grip strength has also become a popular marker of nutritional status and is increasingly being employed as outcome variable in nutritional intervention studies.
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