Pre-transplant wasting (as measured by muscle index) is a novel prognostic indicator in lung transplantation

Diana J. Kelm, Sara L. Bonnes, Michael D. Jensen, Patrick W. Eiken, Matthew A. Hathcock, Walter K. Kremers, Cassie C. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Frailty in non-transplant populations increases morbidity and mortality. Muscle wasting is an important frailty characteristic. Low body mass index is used to measure wasting, but can over- or underestimate muscle mass. Computed tomography (CT) software can directly measure muscle mass. It is unknown if muscle wasting is important in lung transplantation. Aim and Methods: The aim of this single-center, retrospective cohort study was to determine whether pre-transplant low muscle mass (as measured by CT using Slice-O-matic software at L2-L3 interspace) was associated with post-transplantation mortality, hospital and intensive care unit length of stay (LOS), duration of mechanical ventilation, or primary graft dysfunction. Lung transplant recipients from 2000 to 2012 with a CT scan less than six months prior to transplant were included. Univariate, multivariate, and Kaplan-Meier analyses were conducted. Results: Thirty-six patients were included. Those with low muscle index (lower 25th percentile) had a worse survival (hazard ratio = 3.83; 95% confidence interval 1.42-10.3; p = 0.007) and longer hospital LOS by an estimated 7.2 d (p = 0.01) when adjusted for age and sex as compared to those with higher muscle index. Conclusion: Low muscle index at lung transplantation is associated with worse survival and increased hospital LOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-255
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Body composition
  • Frailty
  • Lung transplantation
  • Mortality
  • Muscle wasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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