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Relationship between lung function and grip strength in older hospitalized patients: a pilot study

Authors Holmes SJ, Allen SC, Roberts HC

Received 26 August 2016

Accepted for publication 26 December 2016

Published 19 April 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1207—1212


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Sarah J Holmes,1 Stephen C Allen,2,3 Helen C Roberts4,5

1Medicine and Elderly Care, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Winchester, 2Medicine and Geriatrics, The Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bournemouth, 3Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education, Bournemouth University, Poole, 4Academic Geriatric Medicine, University of Southampton, 5University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK

Objective: Older people with reduced respiratory muscle strength may be misclassified as having COPD on the basis of spirometric results. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between lung function and grip strength in older hospitalized patients without known airways disease.
Methods: Patients in acute medical wards were recruited who were aged ≥70 years; no history, symptoms, or signs of respiratory disease; Mini Mental State Examination ≥24; willing and able to consent to participate; and able to perform hand grip and forced spirometry. Data including lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1], forced vital capacity [FVC], FEV1/FVC, peak expiratory flow rate [PEFR], and slow vital capacity [SVC]), grip strength, age, weight, and height were recorded. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and linear regression unadjusted and adjusted (for age, height, and weight).
Results: A total of 50 patients (20 men) were recruited. Stronger grip strength in men was significantly associated with greater FEV1, but this was attenuated by adjustment for age, height, and weight. Significant positive associations were found in women between grip strength and both PEFR and SVC, both of which remained robust to adjustment.
Conclusion: The association between grip strength and PEFR and SVC may reflect stronger patients generating higher intrathoracic pressure at the start of spirometry and pushing harder against thoracic cage recoil at end-expiration. Conversely, patients with weaker grip strength had lower PEFR and SVC. These patients may be misclassified as having COPD on the basis of spirometric results.

Keywords: older, grip strength, spirometry, peak expiratory flow rate, slow vital capacity

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