April 26, 2019
Weakened handgrip strength and older age appear to be independent risk factors for falls in patients with chronic liver disease, according to a study published online in Hepatology Research.
“Falling is known to be associated with cognitive function,” researchers wrote. “We evaluated the relationship between muscle function and falls in patients with chronic liver disease.”
The study looked at 100 sequential patients with chronic liver disease admitted to the hospital for scheduled treatment—32 with chronic hepatitis and 68 with liver cirrhosis. No study participants had dementia, and all were independent in performing activities of daily living. Researchers determined handgrip strength at admission and used previously reported values to identify any decline. They also collected information on falls that occurred the month before admission.
Among participants with handgrip strength decline, 26.7% had a history of falling. In comparison, 5.7% of participants with no decline in hand strength had a history of falling, according to the study. A fall during hospitalization occurred in 16.7% of patients with a history of falling and in 2.3% of patients with no history of falling.
Researchers identified age 69 as the cut-off value for a relationship with falls.
“Assessment of handgrip strength could be an effective clinical tool for easily assessing the risk of falling,” they concluded, “especially in elderly chronic liver disease patients.”
Hiraoka A, Tamura R, Oka M, et al. Prediction of risk of falls based on handgrip strength in chronic liver disease patients living independently [published online February 16, 2019]. Hepatol Res. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/hepr.13322