Handgrip maneuver

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The handgrip maneuver is performed by clenching one's fist forcefully for a sustained time until fatigued. Variations include squeezing an item such as a rolled up washcloth.

Physiological Response[edit]

The handgrip maneuver increases afterload by squeezing the arterioles and increasing total peripheral resistance.[1]


Since increasing afterload will prevent blood from flowing in a normal forward path, it will increase any murmurs that are due to backwards flowing blood.[2] This includes aortic regurgitation (AR), mitral regurgitation (MR), and a ventricular septal defect (VSD).

Mitral valve prolapse: The click and the murmur of mitral valve prolapse are delayed because of the increased left ventricular volume.[3]

Murmurs that are due to forward flowing of blood such as aortic stenosis, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy decrease in intensity.

Mitral stenosis: The diastolic murmur of mitral stenosis increases because of an increased heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac output.[4][5]

The effect of reducing the intensity in forward flowing murmurs is much more evident in aortic stenosis rather than mitral stenosis. The reason for this is that there is a larger pressure gradient across the aortic valve.[6] A complementary maneuver for differentiating disorders is the Valsalva maneuver, which decreases preload.

Handgripping maneuver Cardiac Finding
Increased murmur intensity Aortic regurgitation
Mitral regurgitation
Ventricular septal defect
Decreased murmur intensity Aortic stenosis
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

See also[edit]