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BACKGROUND: Handgrip strength, a measure of muscular fitness, is associated with cardiovascular (CV) events and CV mortality but its association with cardiac structure and function is unknown. The goal of this study was to determine if handgrip strength is associated with changes in cardiac structure and function in UK adults. METHODS AND RESULTS: Left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF), end-diastolic volume (EDV), end-systolic volume (ESV), stroke volume (SV), mass (M), and mass-to-volume ratio (MVR) were measured in a sample of 4,654 participants of the UK Biobank Study 6.3 ± 1 years after baseline using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). Handgrip strength was measured at baseline and at the imaging follow-up examination. We determined the association between handgrip strength at baseline as well as its change over time and each of the cardiac outcome parameters. After adjustment, higher level of handgrip strength at baseline was associated with higher LVEDV (difference per SD increase in handgrip strength: 1.3ml, 95% CI 0.1-2.4; p = 0.034), higher LVSV (1.0ml, 0.3-1.8; p = 0.006), lower LVM (-1.0g, -1.8 --0.3; p = 0.007), and lower LVMVR (-0.013g/ml, -0.018 --0.007; p<0.001). The association between handgrip strength and LVEDV and LVSV was strongest among younger individuals, while the association with LVM and LVMVR was strongest among older individuals. CONCLUSIONS: Better handgrip strength was associated with cardiac structure and function in a pattern indicative of less cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling. These characteristics are known to be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Aged, Cardiovascular Diseases, Female, Hand Strength, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Stroke Volume, Ventricular Function, Left