Quantification of skeletal muscle mass: sarcopenia as a marker of overall health in children and adults

  • Leah A. GilliganEmail author
  • Alexander J. Towbin
  • Jonathan R. Dillman
  • Elanchezhian Somasundaram
  • Andrew T. Trout


Sarcopenia is defined as the loss of muscle mass or function and has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality in a variety of diseased populations. Sarcopenia results from a higher rate of muscle protein degradation compared to protein synthesis and is an important marker of metabolic status related to nutrition and physical activity. The diagnosis of sarcopenia is accomplished by clinical assessment demonstrating decreased muscle function and radiographic confirmation of decreased muscle mass, via dual X-ray absorptiometry, bioelectric impedance or cross-sectional imaging with CT or MRI. However, normative data for skeletal muscle mass are lacking, especially for children and young adults. Additionally, studies of skeletal muscle mass by cross-sectional imaging in children are scarce. Here, we review the concept of sarcopenia with an emphasis on its relevance in the pediatric population.


Body composition Computed tomography Imaging Magnetic resonance imaging Muscle Sarcopenia 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology, MLC 5031Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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