Percentiles for skeletal muscle index, area and radiation attenuation based on computed tomography imaging in a healthy Caucasian population

A. van der Werf, J. A.E. Langius, M. A.E. de van der Schueren, S. A. Nurmohamed, K. A.M.I. van der Pant, S. Blauwhoff-Buskermolen, N. J. Wierdsma

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Background/objectives: Muscle mass is a key determinant of nutritional status and associated with outcomes in several patient groups. Computed tomography (CT) analysis is increasingly used to assess skeletal muscle area (SMA), skeletal muscle index (SMI) and muscle radiation attenuation (MRA). However, interpretation of these muscle parameters is difficult since values in a healthy population are lacking. The aim of this study was to provide sex specific percentiles for SMA, SMA and MRA in a healthy Caucasian population and to examine the association with age and BMI in order to define age- and BMI specific percentiles. Subjects/methods: In this retrospective cross-sectional study CT scans of potential kidney donors were used to assess SMA, SMI and MRA at the level of the third lumbar vertebra. Sex specific distributions were described and, based on the association between age/BMI and muscle parameters, age, and BMI specific predicted percentiles were computed. The 5th percentile was considered as cut-off. Results: CT scans of 420 Individuals were included (age range 20–82 years and BMI range 17.5–40.7 kg/m2). Sex specific cut-offs of SMA, SMI and MRA were 134.0 cm2, 41.6 cm2/m2 and 29.3 HU in men and 89.2 cm2, 32.0 cm2/m2 and 22.0 HU in women, respectively. Correlations were negative between age and all three muscle parameters, positive between BMI and SMA/SMI and negative between BMI and MRA, resulting in age- and BMI specific percentiles. Conclusions: This study provides sex specific percentiles for SMA, SMI, and MRA. In addition, age- and BMI specific percentiles have been established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-296
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

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