Handgrip strength at admission and time to discharge in medical and surgical inpatients.

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Handgrip strength at admission and time to discharge in medical and surgical inpatients.

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2014 May;38(4):481-8

Authors: Mendes J, Azevedo A, Amaral TF

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Handgrip strength is a relevant marker of functional status and is also a component of nutrition assessment. The simplicity of this measurement supports its usefulness as a tool to predict who will likely take longer to hospital discharge. The aim of this study was to quantify the association between sex-specific handgrip strength at hospital admission and time to discharge alive. We intended to include a group of diverse diagnoses and to compare medical and surgical wards, taking into account the potential confounders' effect of patients' characteristics and severity of disease.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Prospective study in 2 public acute-care general hospitals in Porto, Portugal, in 2004. Handgrip strength was evaluated using a handgrip dynamometer in a probability sample of 425 patients from medical and surgical wards. The association between baseline handgrip strength and time to discharge was evaluated using survival analysis with discharge alive as the outcome and deaths and transfers being censored.
RESULTS: In medical wards, women with high admission handgrip strength had a very short hospital stay (all had been discharged by the sixth day), and among men, patients with low handgrip strength had a particularly longer stay (approximately 50% were discharged after 15 days of hospitalization). In surgical wards, an increasing length of stay with decreasing handgrip strength quartiles was also observed in both sexes.
CONCLUSIONS: Lower handgrip strength at hospital admission was associated with a longer time in the hospital, in patients of both sexes, in medical and surgical wards. Although this association was explained in part by age, height, education level, cognitive status, and disease severity, its direction remained unchanged regardless of the aforementioned factors.

PMID: 23609772 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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