Sarcopenia, as defined by low muscle mass, strength and physical performance, predicts complications after surgery for colorectal cancer.Colorectal Dis. 2015 Nov; 17(11):O256-64.CD
Recent studies have shown that sarcopenia is associated with negative postoperative outcomes. However, none of these studies analysed muscle strength or physical performance, which are also important components of sarcopenia. The present study aimed to investigate whether sarcopenia itself, as defined by low muscle mass, strength and physical performance, would predict complications after surgery for colorectal cancer.
We conducted a prospective study of patients who underwent surgery for colorectal cancer at our department between August 2014 and February 2015. Sarcopenia was diagnosed by a combination of third lumbar vertebra muscle index (L3 MI), handgrip strength and 6-m usual gait speed. Univariate and multivariate analyses evaluating the risk factors for postoperative complications were performed. Only complications classified as Grade II or above according to the Clavien-Dindo classification were analysed in this study.
A total of 142 patients were included in the study, and 17 patients were diagnosed as having sarcopenia. Postoperative complications of Grade II or above occurred in 40 patients, including 10 with sarcopenia and 30 without sarcopenia. Multivariate analysis showed that sarcopenia and previous abdominal surgery were independent risk factors for postoperative complications. Patients with sarcopenia also had an obvious tendency to a higher incidence of infectious complications. By comparing two logistic regression models, sarcopenia showed a better predictive power for postoperative complications than did low muscle mass.
Sarcopenia and previous abdominal surgery are independent risk factors for complications after surgery for colorectal cancer. Including a functional aspect to the definition of sarcopenia may result in a better prediction of postoperative complications.