CT-derived sarcopenia should not preclude surgical stabilization of traumatic rib fractures

Derrick A. Doolittle, Matthew C. Hernandez, Francis I. Baffour, Michael R. Moynagh, Naoki Takahashi, Adam T. Froemming, Katrina N. Glazebrook, Brian D. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Rib fractures are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. Surgical stabilization of rib fractures (SSRF) can be performed to mitigate complications. Sarcopenia is in general known to be associated with poor clinical outcomes. We investigated if sarcopenia impacted number of days of mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit (ICU) stay, and total hospital stay in patients who underwent SSRF. Methods: A retrospective single institutional review was performed including patients who underwent SSRF (2009–2017). Skeletal muscle index (SMI) was semiautomatically calculated at the L3 spinal level on computed tomography (CT) images and normalized by patient height. Sarcopenia was defined as SMI < 55 cm2/m2 in males and < 39 cm2/m2 in females. Demographics, operative details, and postoperative outcomes were reviewed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. Results: Of 238 patients, 88 (36.9%) had sarcopenia. There was no significant difference in number of days of mechanical ventilation (2.8 ± 4.9 versus 3.1 ± 4.3, p = 0.304), ICU stay (5.9 ± 6.5 versus 4.9 ± 5.7 days, p = 0.146), or total hospital stay (13.3 ± 7.2 versus 12.9 ± 8.2 days, p = 0.183) between sarcopenic and nonsarcopenic patients. Sarcopenic patients demonstrated increased modified frailty index scores (1.5 ± 1.1 versus 0.9 ± 0.9, p < 0.001) compared to nonsarcopenic patients. Conclusions: For patients who underwent SSRF for rib fractures, sarcopenia did not increase the number of days of mechanical ventilation, ICU stay, or total hospital stay. Sarcopenia should not preclude the utilization of SSRF in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalEuropean radiology experimental
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Length of stay
  • Muscle (skeletal)
  • Rib fractures
  • Sarcopenia
  • Tomography (x-ray computed)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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