Sarcopenia Predicts Post-transplant Mortality in Acutely Ill Men Undergoing Urgent Evaluation and Liver Transplantation

Selena Z. Kuo, Myra Ahmad, Michael A. Dunn, Aldo J. Montano-Loza, Elizabeth J. Carey, Shezhang Lin, Akshata Moghe, Hui Wei Chen, Maryam Ebadi, Jennifer C. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background. We examined the association between sarcopenia and post-transplant mortality in acutely ill inpatients with cirrhosis who underwent urgent liver transplantation. Methods. Included were inpatients at 4 centers who were urgently listed as nonstatus 1 and transplanted from 2005 to 2017 with an abdominal computed tomography scan <90 days before transplantation. Skeletal muscle index (SMI) = total skeletal muscle cross-sectional area at the L3 vertebral level, normalized to height. Cox regression associated SMI with post-transplant mortality. Optimal search identified SMI cutoffs to detect survival. Results. Of 126 inpatients, 63% were male patients, model for end-stage liver disease (MELDNa) was 32, and follow up was 5.1 years. Among men, 23% died. Median SMI was lower in men who died versus survived (45 versus 51cm2/m2). SMI was associated with post-transplant mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.96 per cm2/m2, 95% CI 0.92-0.99). Patients with SMI ≤ 48cm2/m2 versus >48cm2/m2 experienced higher rates of death at 1 year (86% versus 95%) and 3 years (73% versus 95%) (Log-rank P = 0.01). In MELD-adjusted analysis, sarcopenia was strongly associated with post-transplant mortality (HR = 4.39, 95% CI 1.49-12.97). Among women, 35% died. Median SMI was similar in women who died versus survived (45 versus 44cm2/m2). SMI was not associated with post-transplant mortality (HR = 1.02, 95% CI 0.96-1.09). Optimal search did not identify any SMI cutoff that predicted post-transplant mortality. Conclusions. Among patients who underwent urgent inpatient evaluation and liver transplantation, we identified an SMI cutoff value of 48cm2/m2 to predict post-transplant mortality in men. Our data support the use of SMI as a tool to capture the impact of muscle depletion on post-transplant mortality in acutely ill men with cirrhosis undergoing urgent liver transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2312-2317
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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