Diagnosing Sarcopenia in Male Patients With Cirrhosis by Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Estimates of Appendicular Skeletal Muscle Mass
Background: Ascites in cirrhotic patients interfere with accurate assessment of skeletal muscle when diagnosing sarcopenia. We hypothesized measurement of appendicular skeletal muscle index (ASMI) with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) improves the diagnosis of sarcopenia in cirrhotic patients as ASMI does not include the fluid-filled abdominal compartment. Objective: To evaluate if ASMI is influenced by ascites, lower limb edema (LLE) and predicts mortality alone or combined with handgrip strength (HGS) in cirrhotic patients. Design: ASMI, HGS, and 36-month mortality were obtained in 144 men with cirrhosis. ASMI was compared before and after paracentesis in 20 men with ascites and to results from 20 matched controls. The prognostic value of ASMI alone and with HGS was tested in a survival. Survival probabilities were obtained for sarcopenia diagnosed by standard ASMI and HGS European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) cutoffs and a new cutoff calculated from our ASMI + HGS tertiles. Results: ASMI did not change after paracentesis, was lower in patients than in controls (P < .001), and was not influenced by LLE (D = 0.30 kg/m2, P = .068; R2 = 2.40%). Mortality was influenced by ASMI and HGS (Pinteraction = 0.028). Sarcopenia diagnosed by EWGSOP was also diagnosed by our new cutoff; both predicted mortality with the latter more sensitive for mortality risk prediction (P = .011). Conclusions: DXA-measured ASMI is not influenced by ascites or LLE in cirrhotic patients; can diagnose low skeletal muscle/sarcopenia; and predicts mortality, particularly when combined with HGS.