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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2013 July;79(7):771-7

language: English

Sarcopenia in critically ill patients: the new pandemia

Muscaritoli M., Lucia S., Molfino A.

Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy


Alteration of muscle mass and function is often observed in critically ill patients and its etiology is multifactorial. Besides the effects of acute disease on muscle metabolism, intensive care stay may per se contribute to muscle derangements. Recently, the concept of sarcopenia has been completely revisited, and indicates the loss of muscle mass and function. Although sarcopenia is generally observed and diagnosed in older adults it may be present in different clinical settings, including critical illness. Sarcopenia in the intensive care unit (ICU) negatively impacts on patients’ outcomes and may determine a negative long-term impact on ICU survivors. Additionally, sarcopenia may promote functional disability in the long-term after hospital discharge. Limited data are available on the prevalence of sarcopenia at ICU admission. Considering the growing population of older adults with multiple comorbidities, modern intensive care medicine should pay attention to the prevention of ICU-related sarcopenia and also to the routine screening for sarcopenia at ICU admission.

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