Sarcopenia is an evolving concept defined by the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass. Decreased muscle mass is a component of frailty and has been shown to be predictive of poor outcomes in oncologic settings. Dr. Angela Smith and colleagues in the UNC Department of Urology therefore sought to measure sarcopenia by preoperative CT scan in cystectomy patients, a vulnerable patient population with multiple co-morbidities. As the first researchers to evaluate sarcopenia in the cystectomy population, they found that those with sarcopenia had an over 2-fold risk of postoperative major complications, most striking among female patients. Further research is necessary to corroborate these findings in a larger study, but Dr. Smith hopes that sarcopenia may be a useful adjunct to recognize patients at highest risk for postoperative complications, thereby identifying those who may benefit from a less aggressive treatment approach.
A highlight of the research can be found in Nature Reviews Urology.
Abstract of the full article in the Journal of Urology can be found in PubMed.