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Skeletal muscle mass and adipose tissue alteration in critically ill patients.

  • Dusseaux, Marie Mélody1
  • Antoun, Sami2
  • Grigioni, Sébastien3
  • Béduneau, Gaétan1
  • Carpentier, Dorothée1
  • Girault, Christophe1
  • Grange, Steven1
  • Tamion, Fabienne4
  • 1 Department of Intensive Care, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France. , (France)
  • 2 Gustave Roussy Institute, Emergency Unit, Villejuif, France. , (France)
  • 3 Normandie University, UNIROUEN, Inserm U 1073, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France. , (France)
  • 4 Normandie University, UNIROUEN, Inserm U 1096, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France. , (France)
Published Article
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216991
PMID: 31194755


Increasing numbers of studies in chronic diseases have been published showing the relationship between body composition (BC) parameters (i.e. skeletal muscle mass (SMM) and adipose tissue (AT)) and outcomes. For patients admitted to intensive care unit (ICU), BC parameters have rarely been described as a prognostic marker of outcome. The primary objective was to evaluate the relationship between body composition at ICU admission and major clinical outcomes. Secondary objectives were to assess the relationship between BC parameters and other parameters (systemic inflammatory markers, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score, albumin level) at ICU admission, and between BC alterations during ICU stay and outcomes. This retrospective study enrolled 25 adult patients who had two abdominal CT scans for clinical indication: first, within 48 hours of ICU admission (initial assessment), and second, 7 to 14 days later (late assessment). Skeletal Muscle radiodensity (SMD), cross-sectional area of SMM, Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT) and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue (SAT) were measured at the third lumbar vertebra. Cox regression analysis was used to determine the association between these parameters and mortality. Patients' mean age was 64.6 years. Their mean BMI was 27.7 kg/m2 (SD = 6.0). ICU mortality was 36%. There was no correlation between BC parameters at initial assessment and ICU outcomes. We observed a negative correlation between SMM index and SOFA score at initial assessment (r = -0.458, p = 0.037). There was a significant loss of VAT between two CT assessments which was associated with mortality (-22.34cm2 / m2 in non-survivors versus -6.22 cm2 / m2 in survivors, p = 0.039). Loss of SMD was greater with the occurrence of an infection than without (Delta SMD = -5.642 vs +1.957, p = 0.04). Our results show alterations in body composition during ICU stay with a loss of muscle quality (decreased SMD) and adipose tissue. These findings require confirmation in future studies but already show that BC assessments at ICU admission and BC alterations during ICU stay are important factors for outcome in critically ill patients.

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