How something as simple as a patient's
resting heart rate or handgrip strength can predict future pulmonary
health problems has been illustrated by two studies that will be presented during the CHEST Annual Meeting 2016 in
One study from the Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia, concluded
that patients with COPD and a higher resting heart rate following an
exacerbation in the hospital were at higher risk for subsequent exacerbations.
Patients who had a resting heart rate > 80/minute three months after the
first exacerbation had significantly higher rates of recurrent
exacerbations for up to nine months of follow-up.
‘How something as simple as a patient's resting heart rate or handgrip strength can predict future pulmonary health problems.’
"Attention to the resting heart rate after an exacerbation in the
hospital may allow clinicians to determine if further intervention
should be considered for patients at a higher risk of readmission," said
Ahmad Ismail, lead researcher.
The second study from the University of Michigan Health System
assessed the relationship between the hand grip strength of smokers with
measurements of muscle mass, pulmonary function tests, chest CT scan
results and the likelihood of COPD exacerbations.
Among 441 smokers with and without COPD, grip strength was associated
with general muscle mass but not with the severity of airflow
obstruction or presence of emphysema. Increased grip strength was also
associated with fewer exacerbations.
"Many studies show that hand grip strength is a strong predictor of
adverse health events in the elderly, but this has not been studied in
patients at risk for COPD," said Carlos Martinez, the lead investigator.
"We also know that muscle weakness is associated with exercise
limitation and the COPD exacerbations. This study shows that hand grip
strength, a simple measure, may be a useful marker of muscle weakness in
groups at risk of COPD."
The study abstracts can be viewed on the website
of the journal CHEST