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To determine whether the association of early enteral nutrition (EEN) with mortality from sepsis differs between patients with and without sarcopenia.We retrospectively reviewed septic patients treated at our centre between January 2010 and August 2017. The skeletal muscle area (SMA) at the level of the third lumbar vertebra was measured with CT on admission, and sarcopenia was defined as SMA < 80% of the predicted value. Patients were divided into two subgroups (sarcopenic and non-sarcopenic patients), and in-hospital mortality was compared in patients treated with and without EEN within each subgroup. We used logistic regression to examine factors associated with in-hospital mortality in each subgroup.EEN was administered to 35/91 sarcopenic patients and 43/100 non-sarcopenic patients. In-hospital mortality did not differ between non-sarcopenic patients with EEN and those without EEN (16% vs 16%, P = 0.947), but was significantly lower in sarcopenic patients with EEN than in those without EEN (9% vs 34%, P = 0.005). Logistic regression showed that EEN was independently associated with reduced in-hospital mortality in sarcopenic patients (OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.05–0.71, P = 0.014), but not in non-sarcopenic patients.EEN may be more beneficial in sarcopenic patients.Effects of early enteral nutrition (EEN) on mortality from sepsis remain uncertain.Effects of EEN may differ with patient characteristics.EEN was independently associated with reduced in-hospital mortality in sarcopenia, but not in non-sarcopenia.Sarcopenic patients may be a suitable sub-group for EEN.