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Is sarcopenia a useful predictor of outcome in patients after emergency laparotomy? A study using the NELA database

John Trotter, Judith Johnston, Alvin Ng, Marcel Gatt, John MacFie, Clare McNaught
Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 2018, 100 (5): 377-381
Introduction Studies have reported on the use of frailty as a prognostic indicator in patients undergoing elective surgery. Similar data do not exist for patients undergoing emergency surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of preoperative sarcopenia measured by computed tomography (CT) on outcome following emergency laparotomy. Materials and methods Data from the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit database were retrieved for patients who had undergone an emergency laparotomy over 12 months at York NHS Foundation Trust. Sarcopenia was assessed by psoas density and area on preoperative CT. Mortality rates at 30 days and 1 year were recorded. Secondary outcomes included discharge rates to non-independent living. Results A total of 259 patients were included. Overall cohort 30-day and 1-year mortality was 13.9% (36/259) and 28.2% (73/259), respectively. Sarcopenia measured by psoas density was associated with increased mortality compared with patients who did not develop sarcopenia at 30 days (29.7%, 19/64, vs. 8.7%, 17/195; P < 0.001; odds ratio, OR, 4.42; 95% confidence interval, CI 2.13-9.26) and at 1 year (57.8%, 37/64, vs. 18.5%, (36/195; P < 0.001; OR 6.05; 95%CI 3.28-11.18). An increase in mortality was seen in patients with sarcopenia measured by psoas area at 30 days (21.3%, 13/61, vs. 9.1%, 17/187; OR 2.71; 95%CI 1.23-5.96, P = 0.013) and at 1 year (42.6%, 26/61, vs. 20.9%, 39/187; OR 2.82; 95% CI 1.52-5.23, P < 0.001). Conclusions Sarcopenia assessed by measurement of psoas density and area on CT is associated with increased mortality following emergency laparotomy. The use of sarcopenia as a predictive tool merits further attention and may be useful in patients undergoing emergency surgery.


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