Objective measures of the frailty syndrome (hand grip strength and gait speed) and cardiovascular mortality: A systematic review


      • Handgrip strength, gait speed are associated with higher cardiovascular mortality.
      • This association may be independent of traditional risk factors.
      • This association is present across a wide variety of patient populations.



      Handgrip strength (HGS) and gait speed (GS) are objective components of the frailty syndrome in the elderly, and are associated with increased all-cause mortality. However, their association with cardiovascular (CVD) mortality is less lucid. The present systematic review aims to summarize the available literature assessing HGS, GS and their association with CVD Mortality.


      Medline and Embase databases were searched systematically using controlled vocabulary and free text terms. A total of 344 results were obtained and scanned for inclusion. Articles were included if they presented results of original research and provided information on HGS or GS and CVD mortality.


      A total of 19 studies (N = 63,396) were included for review. Twelve studies examined hand grip strength with CVD mortality and 7 studies assessed gait speed. Almost all included studies demonstrated an association of HGS/GS with CVD mortality on univariate analyses. Decreased HGS or GS were associated with increased mortality in most studies (8/12 for HGS and 6/7 for GS). In most positive studies, the association of HGS/GS was usually found to be independent of traditional CVD risk factors.


      The present review demonstrates that decreased HGS and GS are associated with CVD mortality, with the association found to be more consistent for GS as compared to HGS. Both of these measures provide valuable prognostic information above and beyond traditional scoring methods and should be considered for implementation in clinical practice.
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