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Prevalence of sarcopenia in systemic sclerosis: assessing body composition and functional disability in patients with systemic sclerosis

Siegert, Elise, March, Christine, Otten, Lindsey, Makowka, Alexander, Preis, Emelina, Buttgereit, Frank, Riemekasten, Gabriela, Müller-Werdan, Ursula, Norman, Kristina
Nutrition 2018 v.55-56 pp. 51-55
bioelectrical impedance, body composition, elderly, health effects assessments, health surveys, immunosuppression, immunosuppressive agents, muscles, patients, quality of life, risk factors, sarcopenia, sclerosis
We analyzed the prevalence of sarcopenia among systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients with respect to quality of life, disability, organ involvement, and muscle function.A total of 129 patients who met the ACR/EULAR 2013 classification criteria were included. Body composition was measured using bioelectric impedance analysis. Sarcopenia was defined according to the criteria of the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People. Handgrip and knee extension strength and pulmonary peak flow were measured. Physical function was assessed with the Short Form-36 Health Survey and Scleroderma Health Assessment Questionnaire.Sarcopenia was prevalent in 22.5% of patients. There were significant differences between patients with and without sarcopenia regarding handgrip strength (11.5 [2.0–30.0] versus 18.0 [1.0–41.0] kilogram force [kgf]; P < 0.001) and knee extension strength (11.0 [3.5–32.5] versus 17.5 [3.5–88.0] kgf; P = 0.006), physical function (38.8 [9.9–85.0] versus 48.8 [0–88.0]; P = 0.032) and number of immunosuppressants (2 [0–4] versus 1 [0–5]; P = 0.009). There were no differences regarding age (57.0 [32.0–83.0] versus 60.5 [28.0–82.0] years; P = 0.350) and disease duration (8 [1–27] versus 7 [0–34] years; P = 0.350).Sarcopenia is common in patients with SSc and is associated with physical impairment that affects everyday life and participation in work. Interestingly, although age is the main risk factor for sarcopenia in the general population, it did not differ between sarcopenic and non-sarcopenic SSc patients in our study. Instead, the number of immunosuppressive drugs was significantly higher among sarcopenic patients.