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Background: Handgrip strength (HGS) is one of the main methods for assessing physical ability. It is a predictor of poor patient outcomes such as longer hospital stay, increased functional limitations, poor health-related quality of life, and increased mortality. Low muscle strength is also a primary indicator of sarcopenia. The aim of this study was to identify the determinants of low HGS in outpatient older adults.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included individuals aged ≥ 60 years followed in the Geriatric Outpatient Clinic from October 2010 to February 2014. Handgrip strength was recorded using a hydraulic hand dynamometer. Participants were divided into 2 groups: with low muscle strength (< 27 kg for men and < 16 kg for women) and with normal muscle strength. Mood was assessed using the 30-point Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). The risk of malnutrition was evaluated using the Mini Nutritional Assessment. Body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The following laboratory parameters were also assessed: high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, N-terminal pro-hormone of brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), vitamin D, interleukins IL-6, IL-8, and IL-18, pentraxin 3, and osteoprotegerin.

Results: The study included 102 patients (61.8% men) at a mean age of 72.3 ± 8.9 years. According to the logistic regression model adjusted for age and sex, HGS was negatively associated with the GDS score (odds ratio [OR], 1.103; 95% CI, 1.004–1.212) and NT-proBNP levels (OR, 1.046; 95% CI, 1.007–1.085, per 100 units). Moreover, HGS was negatively (but not significantly) associated with the number of medications taken (OR, 1.342; 95% CI 0.997–1.806).

Conclusion: The study showed that the GDS score and NT-proBNP levels have a negative effect on HGS and may also affect the prognosis of sarcopenia.