Is there an association between upper limb claudication and handgrip strength in Takayasu arteritis?
Limb vascular claudication and hand muscle weakness are common symptoms of Takayasu arteritis (TAK). However, no studies have correlated these two symptoms. Therefore, the aim of the study was to evaluate handgrip strength and its correlation with both upper-limb vascular claudication and imaging of the vessels. This cross-sectional study compared 36 patients with TAK who were matched by age, gender, and body mass index with 36 individuals without TAK (CTR). Hand strength (assessed with handgrip dynamometer), functional capacity (Health Assessment Questionnaire, HAQ), upper-limb vascular claudication symptoms (patients’ selfreported form), and disease activity (Indian Takayasu Clinical Activity Score [ITAS] 2010; Physician Global Assessment [PGA], C-reactive protein, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate) were evaluated as well as vessel imaging (e.g., angiotomography or angioresonance) and blood pressure. The median age of the patients was 42.0 years (35.5-51.5 years), whereas the mean disease duration was 13.1±6.8 years. No patient had active disease. Compared to the CTR, the patients with TAK showed reduced strength in the left-hand (22.9±5.9 vs 26.3±5.6 kg; p=0.014) and increased HAQ scores [0.50 (0.12-0.87) vs 0.00 (0.00-0.00); p<0.001]. Both groups had comparable blood pressure. Among patients with TAK, lefthand strength was inversely correlated with HAQ (Spearman correlation: rho=–0.584; p<0.001) and positively correlated with right-hand strength (rho=0.644; p<0.001). Moreover, neither hand’s strengths in the patients were correlated with subclavian stenosis imaging, blood pressure or limb vascular claudication. The reduction of strength in the upper left limb is inversely related to the functional capacity (HAQ score) of TAK. This reduction appears unrelated to classical vascular claudication, vessel imaging or blood pressure.
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