European Geriatric Medicine

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 801–807 | Cite as

The relation between mortality, intramuscular adipose tissue and sarcopenia in hospitalized geriatric patients

  • Stany PerkisasEmail author
  • Scott Lamers
  • Robin Degerickx
  • Eugénie Van Mieghem
  • Maurits Vandewoude
  • Veronique Verhoeven
  • Anne-Marie De Cock
Research Paper



One of the biggest healthcare challenges that arises with increasing age expectations is sarcopenia. However, as a multi-dimensional construct with both neurological and musculoskeletal factors involved, the exact contribution of these different components of sarcopenia to mortality outcomes is not clear. Therefore, in mortality assessment, it is advisable to use subitems of sarcopenia such as the intramuscular adipose tissue (IMAT), instead of using sarcopenia as a construct itself. IMAT is negatively correlated with strength and performance, and positively correlated with mortality, both all-cause and cardiovascular. In this study, IMAT and its relation to long-term mortality, muscle strength and function is studied.

Materials and methods

Patients admitted to the University Geriatrics Department during 6 months were screened for muscle mass, strength and function through computed tomography (upper leg), Jamar dynamometer and short physical performance battery, respectively. After 4 years, health status (mortality) was obtained by telephone.


Three hundred and two patients were included (69.6% female). Mean IMAT was 29.3 ± 12.3%. There was a positive correlation between IMAT and mortality in the male 70–79-year-old age group (n = 20), but not in the whole cohort. IMAT was negatively correlated with muscle strength and function.


IMAT is negatively correlated with muscle strength and muscle function. IMAT is correlated with mortality in a specific subgroup of this cohort. This data adds to the discussion of the value of IMAT in the construct of sarcopenia. More studies need to be done regarding the evolution of IMAT in function of time and functional decline.


Sarcopenia Myosteatosis Intramuscular adipose tissue Assessment Mortality 



No funds were received for this study. The authors would like to thank the departments of Occupational Therapy, Physical therapy and Dietetics of the Saint-Elisabeth hospital for their cooperation. Also many thanks to Dr. Agus Surjadjaja of the Radiology Department for performing the muscle mass measurements.

Author contributions

SP and MV conceived and designed the study; SP, SL, and RD collected the data; SP., SL, RD and EVM analyzed the data; SP wrote the paper; SP., SL., RD,EVM, MV, AMDC and VV revised the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that there are no conflict of interests

Ethical approval

This research was done in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration on ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects [26]. As all investigations used (blood analyses, handgrip measurement, SPPB, nutritional screening and muscle mass measurements with CT scan) were part of the routine investigations performed on the geriatric ward, explained to all patients orally and through a standardized information leaflet (admittance brochure).

Informed consent

In every patient, oral consent was obtained before performing the analyses and this consent was noted down in the electronic patient file. Because this study is to be regarded as an analysis of anonymously registered routine-based data, no new explicit question was addressed to the local ethics committee.


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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Center for Geriatrics, ZNA (ZiekenhuisNetwerk Antwerpen)AntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Belgian Ageing Muscle SocietyBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.First Line and Interdisciplinary Care MedicineELIZA, University of AntwerpEdegemBelgium

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