Introduction: The European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) has developed a working definition of sarcopenia that can be widely used in clinical practice and research. They defined sarcopenia as a condition associated with loss of both muscle mass and muscle function. Severity of the condition was graded as: pre-sarcopenia (poor muscle mass alone); sarcopenia (poor muscle mass + either poor muscle strength or poor physical performance) and severe sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass + both poor muscle strength and poor physical performance). The EWGSOP also developed an algorithm to screen and identify people with sarcopenia. We aimed to determine the effectiveness of this algorithm in detecting people with different stages of sarcopenia.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 79 community-dwelling older people >65 years underwent DEXA scanning for body composition. Appendicular skeletal muscle mass/height2 was measured. Gait speed over 4 m and hand-grip strength using a hand-held dynamometer were recorded. Low hand-grip strength was defined as <20 kg for women and <30 kg for men as per the EWGSOP. The EWGSOP algorithm was used to screen for sarcopenia.
Results: The mean participant age was 72 (SD 6) years; 44% were female; 8/79 participants had low gait speed; 34/79 had poor grip strength; 3/79 had both poor gait speed and poor strength. Using the EWGSOP algorithm, 31/79 (39.2%) would have undergone the measurement of the muscle mass; 13/79 (16.4%) had sarcopenia. No participant had severe sarcopenia; 27/79 (34.2%) had low muscle mass; 14/79 (17.7%) participants had presarcopenia, but were not detected using the algorithm.
Conclusions: The EWGSOP algorithm detected all participants with sarcopenia. Even though the algorithm resulted in the measurement of body composition of almost 40% of those screened, it is not designed to detect those with presarcopenia who may be the ideal target for preventive measures.
Acknowledgement: Funded by TENOVUS Scotland.