Aortic Calcification is Associated with Five-Year Decline in Handgrip Strength in Older Women

Alexander J. Rodríguez, Joshua R. Lewis, David S. Scott, Douglas P. Kiel, John T. Schousboe, Peter R. Ebeling, Richard L. Prince

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of the study was to determine the association between AAC and neuromuscular function over 5 years. Participants in this study were ambulant women over 70 years old residing in Perth, Western Australia who participated in the Calcium Intake Fracture Outcomes Study, a randomised controlled trial of calcium supplementation. 1046 women (mean age = 74.9 ± 2.6 years; BMI = 27.1 ± 4.4 kg/m2) were included. Lateral spine images captured during bone density testing were scored for AAC (AAC24; 0–24) at baseline. Severe AAC (AACsev) was defined using established cut points (AAC24 ≥ 6). At baseline and follow-up, isometric grip strength was assessed using a dynamometer. Mobility was assessed by the Timed-Up-and-Go (TUG) test. Using pre-defined criteria, muscle weakness was considered as grip strength < 22 kg and poor mobility defined as TUG > 10.2 s. A subset of women had appendicular lean mass (ALM) determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at baseline and follow-up (n = 261). AACsev was evident in 193 (18.5%) women. Average decline in grip strength after 5 years was greater in those with AACsev than those without (3.6 ± 3.7 vs. 2.9 ± 4.2 kg; p = 0.034). This remained significant after adjustment for age, treatment allocation, diabetes, smoking history, renal function, medical record-derived prevalent vascular disease, BMI and physical activity (β = − 0.184; 95% confidence interval: − 0.361, − 0.008; p = 0.040). AACsev was not associated with 5-year changes in TUG or ALM in univariable or multivariable analyses (all p > 0.05). In older women, severe aortic calcification was associated with greater 5-year decline in muscle strength, but not TUG or ALM. These findings support the concept that vascular disease may have an effect on the loss of muscular strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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