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ORIGINAL ARTICLE   Free accessfree

European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2020 August;56(4):427-37

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.20.06222-X


language: English

The ultrasonographic measurement of muscle thickness in sarcopenia. A prediction study

Nikolaos BAROTSIS 1 , Angeliki GALATA 1, Anastasia HADJICONSTANTI 2, George PANAYIOTAKIS 2

1 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University Hospital of Patras, Patras, Greece; 2 Department of Medical Physics, School of Medicine, University of Patras, Patras, Greece

BACKGROUND: Sarcopenia is a common disease in the elderly. Although extensive research has been conducted on muscle mass and quality assessment tools, there are still certain drawbacks preventing their universal use.
AIM: The aim of this study was the evaluation of the thickness of head, neck, upper and lower limb muscles measured with ultrasonography, as a potential predictory tool in sarcopenia.
DESIGN: Prediction study.
SETTING: The Outpatient Sarcopenia Clinic of the Rehabilitation Department of the University Hospital of Patras.
POPULATION: Ninety-four individuals (27 men and 67 women) with a mean age of 75.6 years (SD=6.6), referred for sarcopenia screening, participated in this study.
METHODS: The muscle thickness was measured with transverse and longitudinal ultrasound scans bilaterally.
RESULTS: The thickness of the geniohyoid and medial head of gastrocnemius muscle in all ultrasound sections, and the thickness of the rectus femoris and vastus intermedius muscle, in specific sections, was found to be significantly decreased in patients with sarcopenia (P<0.05). The Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis of the ultrasound muscle thickness measurements resulted in a significant association with sarcopenia. In the case of the geniohyoid muscle, the measured area under the ROC curve was found to be the highest (0.79). The optimal cut-off for the prediction of sarcopenia from the geniohyoid muscle was 0.65 cm with sensitivity equal to 75.0% and specificity equal to 66.7%.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study have shown that the thickness of the neck and lower limb muscles measured ultrasonographically can be utilized in the prediction of sarcopenia with high sensitivity and specificity.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The prevalence of sarcopenia in the geriatric population and the rehabilitation wards is reported to be high. Therefore, an easy, fast, low cost and with no risk, widely available method such as ultrasonography could be an extremely valuable tool for the screening and follow-up of sarcopenia.

KEY WORDS: Ultrasonography; Sarcopenia; Neck muscles; Muscle, skeletal; Quadriceps muscle

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