Maximal handgrip strength can predict maximal physical performance in patients with chronic fatigue, by Yves Jammes, Chloé Stavris, Caroline Charpin, Stanislas Rebaudet, Gerard Lagrange, Frederique Retornaz in Clinical Biomechanics Vol 73, pp 162–165, March 2020 [ doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2020.01.003]
- Patients with chronic fatigue have often difficulties to perform a maximal exercise test.
- Maximal handgrip strength was used to predict maximal exercise performance.
- We explored 98 severely fatigued patients, 66 of them with chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Handgrip strength was correlated with peak values of oxygen uptake and work rate.
- Thus, handgrip strength is helpful when an ergometric cycle test cannot be performed.
Maximal handgrip strength is used to predict exercise performance in healthy older subjects and in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, breast cancer or cirrhosis. Our objective was to evaluate the ability of maximal handgrip strength to predict maximal exercise performance in patients with chronic fatigue.
Sixty-six patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and 32 patients with chronic fatigue but no diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome were included. The maximal physical performance was measured on a cycle ergometer to measure the peak oxygen uptake and the maximal work rate. We searched for linear regressions between maximal handgrip strength and maximal performances.
No significant differences in slopes and ordinates of regression lines were noted between patients with or without a diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, allowing to pool the data. Maximal handgrip strength was significantly and positively correlated with peak oxygen uptake and maximal work rate in all patients with chronic fatigue.
We conclude that handgrip strength can predict maximal exercise performance in patients with chronic fatigue.
Conclusion: when an ergometric cycle test cannot be easily performed, the simple, low cost MHGS measurement may be useful to evaluate the maximal physical performance of patients with chronic fatigue, including those with ME/CFS. However, in ME/CFS patients the sole MHGS measurement cannot replace the information given by a maximal exercise test that are the altered muscle membrane excitability and the associated increase in exercise induced oxidative stress. MHGS can be used as a screening tool for patients who need to undergo a maximal exercise test. The usefulness of MHGS in chronic fatigue possibly opens future ways of research.