Handgrip strength is not associated with risk of venous thromboembolism: a prospective cohort study

Setor K Kunutsor*, Timo H. Mäkikallio, Ari Voutilainen, Jari A Laukkanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Objectives. Consistent evidence suggests an inverse and independent association between handgrip strength and arterial thrombotic disease. However, whether handgrip strength is related to future risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is uncertain. We sought to assess the prospective association between handgrip strength and VTE risk. Design. Handgrip strength was assessed using a hand dynamometer in a population-based sample of 864 men and women aged 61-74 years without a history of VTE at baseline in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease prospective cohort study. Handgrip strength was allometrically scaled to account for the effect of body weight (handgrip strength/body weight2/3) and to normalize the data. Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for VTE. Results. During a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 17.2 (12.1-18.3) years, 58 VTE events were recorded. The risk of VTE did not significantly decrease per 1 standard deviation increase in normalized handgrip strength in age- and sex-adjusted analysis (HR 0.89; 95% CI 0.65–1.22). The association remained similar in analyses adjusted for several established and emerging risk factors (HR 0.90; 95% CI 0.65–1.25). The corresponding adjusted HRs were 1.10 (95% CI: 0.56-2.18) and 1.15 (95% CI: 0.57-2.34) respectively, when comparing the extreme tertiles of normalized handgrip strength values. Conclusions. Normalized handgrip strength is not associated with future VTE risk in an older Caucasian population. Large-scale studies in other populations and age-groups are warranted to generalize these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 253-257
Number of pages5
JournalScandinavian Cardiovascular Journal
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2020


  • Handgrip strength
  • venous thromboembolism
  • cohort study

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