Sarcopenia Is More Prevalent Among Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients Undergoing Surgery and Predicts Progression to Surgery Among Medically Treated Patients

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2022 Feb 15;izac013. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izac013. Online ahead of print.

James P Campbell 1, Levi Teigen 1, Scott Manski 2, Brian Blumhof 3, Flavius F Guglielmo 3, Raina Shivashankar 2, Eugenia Shmidt 1


Author information

1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

2Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

3Department of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Background: Sarcopenia is common in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); however, estimates of its prevalence and impact on clinical outcomes are variable. This study sought to compare the prevalence of sarcopenia in IBD patients starting new biologics vs patients undergoing IBD surgeries, and its association with common clinical predictors of nutritional status, adverse events, and clinical outcomes.

Methods: This was a multicenter retrospective cohort study of IBD patients who had a computed tomography (CT) scan within 6 months prior to new biologic initiation (medical cohort) or IBD surgery (surgery cohort). The lowest sex-specific quartile of the total psoas area index at the L3 level defined sarcopenia. Prevalence and predictors of sarcopenia, performance of common clinical nutritional markers, and association with adverse events and clinical outcomes at 1 year were determined.

Results: A total of 156 patients were included (48% medical cohort, 52% surgery cohort). Sarcopenia was more common in the surgery cohort (32% vs 16%; P < .02). In the medical cohort, sarcopenia predicted need for surgery at 1 year (odds ratio, 4.75; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-20.57; P = .04). Low albumin and body mass index (BMI) were associated with the presence of sarcopenia; however, 24% of sarcopenic patients had both normal BMI and albumin.

Conclusions: Sarcopenia is more prevalent among IBD patients undergoing surgery and predicts the need for surgery in patients starting new biologic therapy. Low albumin and BMI were similar between cohorts, suggesting a unique role for sarcopenia as a relevant clinical marker of lean muscle mass depletion for surgically and medically treated IBD patients.

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