Outpatient grip strength measurement predicts survival, perioperative adverse events, and non-home discharge among patients with vascular disease
Thomas E Reeve, IV, Timothy E Craven, Matthew P Goldman, Justin B Hurie, Gabriela Velazquez-Ramirez, Matthew S Edwards, Matthew A Corriere
Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC
BACKGROUND: Studies of frailty in patients with vascular disease have focused primarily on preoperative risk assessment, but population-specific associations with survival are unknown. The majority of studies evaluating frailty assessment in patients with vascular disease have relied upon accumulated deficits models that are calculated based upon data within the electronic medical record (which may be incomplete) and are often applied retrospectively. Grip strength measurement is a comparatively simple, quick, and inexpensive frailty screening tool. Associations between grip strength, comorbidity, cardiovascular risk, and sarcopenia have been demonstrated in patients with vascular disease, but long-term associations with clinical outcomes have not been characterized. We hypothesized that grip strength and frailty are associated with all-cause mortality among vascular patients, and with adverse perioperative events, length of stay, and discharge status following vascular procedures. To test these hypotheses, we conducted a longitudinal study evaluating survival and adverse events among a cohort of patients with vascular disease following grip strength measurement during outpatient visits.METHODS: Adult patients were recruited from an outpatient Vascular clinic (Vascular Surgery and/or Vascular Medicine) during routine visits at an academic medical center. Inclusion criteria were ability to provide informed consent and a clinic visit related to confirmed peripheral artery disease (PAD), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), or carotid artery stenosis. Exclusion criteria included known factors with potential to affect dominant hand strength or function (including history of upper extremity paralysis, paresis, stroke, arthritis, or ipsilateral upper extremity trauma or surgery). Participants underwent dominant hand grip strength measurement using a calibrated hydraulic hand dynamometer (Jamar® Hand Dynamometer, Patterson Medical, Warrenville, IL) after agreeing to participate. Grip strength measurements were obtained by a trained research assistant in the same location where vital signs are recorded during clinic intake. Grip strength in kilograms (kg) was measured using a standardized protocol: participants were seated with the ipsilateral shoulder adducted and neutrally rotated, the elbow flexed to 90 degrees, and the forearm and wrist neutrally positioned. A single maximum grip strength measurement was obtained and recorded to the nearest kilogram. Additional variables collected from the electronic medical record included age, race, gender, and comorbid conditions (history of myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, cerebrovascular disease including stroke or transient ischemic attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, connective tissue disease, ulcer disease, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes including, hemiplegia, and smoking). Laboratory values collected from the electronic medical record included serum hemoglobin, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and albumin when available within six months of grip measurement. Participants were categorized as frail based on grip strength below the 20th percentile of a community-dwelling population from the Cardiovascular Health Study (previously described by Fried et al), adjusted for gender and body mass index (BMI).Associations between grip strength, frailty, and risk of death were evaluated using Cox Proportional Hazards regression models adjusted for age, gender, and whether patients underwent surgical intervention during the follow-up period. Rates of perioperative adverse events and non-home discharge among patients undergoing vascular operations following grip strength measurement were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. In addition to sex, multivariable logistic models of peri- operative events and non-home discharge included procedure type (open versus endovascular) to account for potential selection bias favoring less invasive procedures in frail patients.RESULTS: Patient cohort and all-cause mortality: A total of 321 participants were enrolled and underwent grip strength measurement. Participant demographic and comorbidity characteristics are shown in Table I. Mean age was 69.0 ± 9.4 years, and 32% of participants were women. Mortality occurred in 48 patients (14.9%) during a median follow up of 24.0 months. Grip strength was associated with all-cause mortality (HR 0.46 per 12.5 kg increase; 95% CI 0.29-0.73; P=0.0009) in a multivariable model that also included male sex (HR 5.08; 95% CI 2,1-12.3; P=0.0003) and age (HR 1.04 per year; 95% CI 1.01-1.08). Surgical intervention during follow up was not associated with mortality in the multivariable model (HR 1.23; 95% CI 0.71-2.52). Categorical frailty was also associated with increased mortality compared with non-frail participants (HR 1.81; P=0.048) in a multivariable model adjusted for age (HR 1.06 per year; P=0.002) and surgical intervention (HR 1.36; 95% CI 1.02-0.09; P-0.331) (Figure 1). Perioperative adverse events: 84 patients (26.1%) underwent a vascular procedure after grip strength measurement. Within this subgroup, perioperative complications occurred among 50.0% of frail versus 32.1% of non-frail patients (P=0.112). Grip strength was associated with decreased risk of perioperative adverse events (HR 0.41 per 12.7 kg increase; 95% CI 0.20-0.85; P=0.0171) in a multivariable model adjusted for open versus endovascular procedure (HR=12.75 for open procedure; 95% CI 2.54-63.90; P=0.0020) and sex (HR=3.05 for male; 95% CI 0.75-12.4; P=0.120). Non-Home Discharge and length of hospital stay after vascular procedures: Rates of non-home discharge (including discharges to skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation facilities) were 28.6% for frail versus 17.9% for non-frail participants (P=0.259). Grip strength was also associated with lower risk of non-home discharge (HR 0.34 per 12.7 kg increase; 95% CI 0.14-0.82; P=0.016) in multivariable models adjusted for sex (HR 2.14 for male; 95% CI 0.48-9.50; P=0.31) and open versus endovascular procedure (HR 10.36 for open procedure; 95% CI 1.20-89.47; P=0.034). No significant associations between grip strength and length of hospital stay were observed.
CONCLUSIONS:Grip strength is associated with all-cause mortality among patients with vascular disease, and with both perioperative adverse events and non-home discharge among patients undergoing vascular operations. These observations support the utility of grip strength measurement for frailty screening and suggest predictive advantages over categorical assessment. Beyond perioperative risk assessment, grip strength measurement may also inform decisions where anticipated survival influences expected treatment benefit, including asymptomatic carotid stenosis or aortic aneurysm. Frailty identification through grip strength measurement may allow patients and providers to individualize treatment choices that minimize risk exposure to patients with poor physiologic reserve and limited expected survival. Conversely, grip strength measurement may also rule out frailty in older patients who sometimes face age-related selection bias that may be unwarranted. Grip strength measurement also provides patients and families with a live demonstration of frailty (or lack thereof), facilitating discussion of an otherwise abstract concept during decision-making. Ongoing investigations are focused on implementation strategies for routine grip strength measurement when assessing vascular patients, particularly when elective operations are being considered. Future research is needed to identify interventions capable of reversing frailty and to develop individualized strategies that decrease risk when operation on frail patients is necessary.
|Diagnosis||Aortic aneurysm||77 (24%)|
|Carotid Stenosis||93 (29%)|
|Peripheral artery disease||151 (47%)|
|Age (years)||69.0 +/- 9.4|
|White race||227 (86%)|
|Body mass index||27.9 +/- 5.8|
|Grip strength (kg)||32.0 +/- 12.1|
|Frail (based on grip strength adjusted for gender and BMI)||92 (29%)|
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