JOURNAL ARTICLE

Sarcopenia as a risk factor for falls in elderly individuals: results from the ilSIRENTE study

Francesco Landi, Rosa Liperoti, Andrea Russo, Silvia Giovannini, Matteo Tosato, Ettore Capoluongo, Roberto Bernabei, Graziano Onder
Clinical Nutrition: Official Journal of the European Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 2012, 31 (5): 652-8
22414775

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Sarcopenia has been indicated as a reliable marker of frailty and poor prognosis among the oldest individuals. We evaluated the relationship between sarcopenia and 2-year risk of falls in a population of persons aged 80 years or older.

METHODS: Data are from the baseline and follow-up evaluations of the Aging and Longevity Study in the Sirente Geographic Area (ilSIRENTE Study) (n=260). According to the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP), sarcopenia was diagnosed in presence of low muscle mass (mid-arm muscle circumference) plus either low muscle strength (hand grip) or low physical performance (4-m walking speed). The primary outcome measure was the incident falls during the follow-up period of 2 years. The relationship between sarcopenia and incident falls was estimated by deriving hazard ratios (HRs) from multiple logistic regression models considering the dependent variable of interest at least one fall during the follow-up period.

RESULTS: Sixty-six participants (25.4%) were identified as affected by sarcopenia. Eighteen out of 66 (27.3%) participants with sarcopenia and 19 out of 194 (9.8%) without sarcopenia reported incident falls during the two-year follow-up of the study (p<0.001). After adjusting for age, gender, cognitive impairment, ADL impairment, sensory impairments, BMI, depression, physical activity, cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, number of medications, and C-reactive protein, participants with sarcopenia had a higher risk of incident falls compared with non sarcopenic subjects (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 3.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.25-8.29).

CONCLUSIONS: The present study suggests that sarcopenia - assessed using the EWGSOP algorithm - is highly prevalent among elderly persons without gender differences (25%). Sarcopenic participants were over three times more likely to fall during a follow-up period of 2 years relative to non sarcopenic individuals, regardless of age, gender and other confounding factors.

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