Sarcopenia: an independent predictor of mortality in community-dwelling older Korean men

Jung Hee Kim, Soo Lim, Sung Hee Choi, Kyoung Min Kim, Ji Won Yoon, Ki Woong Kim, Jae-Young Lim, Kyong Soo Park, Hak Chul Jang
Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2014, 69 (10): 1244-52

BACKGROUND: The concept of sarcopenia has expanded recently to include muscle strength or physical performance. We investigated whether the Europe Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) definition of sarcopenia predicts the risk of all-cause mortality in community-dwelling older adults.

METHODS: This study included 284 men and 272 women aged 65 and older. The outcome was all-cause mortality during the 6-year follow-up period. We defined sarcopenia based on the EWGSOP definitions of sarcopenia: height (ht)- or weight (wt)-adjusted appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM/ht(2) or ASM/wt) assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, leg muscle strength, and short physical performance battery test score.

RESULTS: During the 6-year follow-up, 40 men and 19 women died. The risk of death was 2.99 times and 3.22 times higher in men with sarcopenia identified by ASM/ht(2) and ASM/wt, respectively, compared with nonsarcopenic men. The hazard ratio for death was 5.37 for men with weak leg muscle strength. Men with a low short physical performance battery score had a 3.15 times higher risk of death compared with those with high short physical performance battery scores, even after adjusting for all covariates. The adjusted hazard ratios for EWGSOP-defined sarcopenia were 4.00 for ASM/ht(2) and 6.89 for ASM/wt in men. By contrast, sarcopenia defined by these criteria was not associated with a higher risk of death in women.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that, in older men, EWGSOP-defined sarcopenia is related to higher mortality compared with nonsarcopenia regardless of the ASM/ht(2) or ASM/wt index. In older women, further studies with large sample sizes are needed to assess whether EWGSOP-defined sarcopenia increases the mortality risk.

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