Introduction: Sarcopenia affects up to 70% of patients suffering from chronic liver disease (cirrhosis). The presence of sarcopenia may influence the prognosis of cirrhotic patients before and after liver transplantation (LT). Few studies have assessed the evolution of sarcopenia in LT. The goal of this study was to follow the evolution and assess the impact of sarcopenia on the prognosis of cirrhotic patients before and after LT.
Methods: Skeletal muscle index (SMI) was calculated from cross‐sectional muscle area at the third lumbar level (L3) on computed tomography (CT). The following CT‐scans were analysed: before LT + before discharge and/or nearest 1‐year post‐LT. Sarcopenia was defined using previously published cutoffs based on gender. The association of sarcopenia with prognostic factors (mortality, hospital stay, infections, readmissions) was assessed in cirrhotic patients who underwent LT.
Results: Thus far, the average SMI before LT of sarcopenic and non‐sarcopenic patients were 40.3±5.3 cm2/m2 and 58.7±13.7 cm2/m2, respectively. The correlation of SMI with length of hospital stay, infections, and readmissions were high (rspearman = −0.714 p = 0.071), moderate (rspearman = −0.598 p = 0.156), and low (rspearman = −0.386 p = 0.393).
Conclusions: Preliminary results indicate that low muscle mass before LT tends to be associated with prolonged hospitalization. As we analyse the remaining data, the strength of the relationship between sarcopenia and the prognosis in LT will help better guide patient care.