Clinical usefulness of psoas muscle thickness for the diagnosis of sarcopenia in patients with liver cirrhosis

Dae Hoe Gu, Moon Young Kim, Yeon Seok Seo, Sang Gyune Kim, Han Ah Lee, Tae Hyung Kim, Young Kul Jung, Altay Kandemir, Ji Hoon Kim, Hyunggin An, Hyung Joon Yim, Jong Eun Yeon, Kwan Soo Byun, Soon Ho Um

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    BACKGROUND/AIMS: The most widely used method for diagnosing sarcopenia is the skeletal muscle index (SMI). Several studies have suggested that psoas muscle thickness per height (PMTH) is also effective for detecting sarcopenia and predicting prognosis in patients with cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the optimal cutoff values of PMTH for detecting sarcopenia in cirrhotic patients.

    METHODS: All cirrhotic patients who underwent abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan including L3 and umbilical levels for measuring SMI and transverse psoas muscle thickness, respectively, were included. Two definitions of sarcopenia were used: (1) sex-specific cutoffs of SMI (≤52.4 cm2 /m2 in men and ≤38.5 cm2 /m2 in women) for SMI-sarcopenia and (2) cutoff of PMTH (<16.8 mm/m) for PMTH-sarcopenia.

    RESULTS: Six hundred fifty-three patients were included. The average age was 53.6 ± 10.2 years, and 499 patients (76.4%) were men. PMTH correlated well with SMI in both men and women (P<0.001). Two hundred forty-one (36.9%) patients met the criteria for SMI-sarcopenia. The best PMTH cutoff values for predicting SMI-sarcopenia were 17.3 mm/m in men and 10.4 mm/m in women, and these were defined as sex-specific cutoffs of PMTH (SsPMTH). The previously published cutoff of PMTH was defined as sex-nonspecific cutoff of PMTH (SnPMTH). Two hundred thirty (35.2%) patients were diagnosed with SsPMTH-sarcopenia, and 280 (44.4%) patients were diagnosed with SnPMTH-sarcopenia. On a multivariate Cox regression analysis, SsPMTH-sarcopenia (hazard ratio [HR], 1.944; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.144-3.304; P=0.014) was significantly associated with mortality, while SnPMTH-sarcopenia was not (HR, 1.446; 95% CI, 0.861-2.431; P=0.164).

    CONCLUSION: PMTH was well correlated with SMI in cirrhotic patients. SsPMTH-sarcopenia was an independent predictor of mortality in these patients and more accurately predicted mortality compared to SnPMTH-sarcopenia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)319-330
    Number of pages12
    JournalClinical and Molecular Hepatology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept 1


    • Cirrhosis
    • Prognosis
    • Psoas muscle
    • Sarcopenia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Hepatology
    • Molecular Biology


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