Prognosis is poor for patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI), and the most frequent cause of death is cardiovascular disease. Low grip strength is a risk factor for cardiovascular events, and sarcopenia may be associated as well. Thus, we hypothesized that sarcopenia is a risk factor for cardiovascular events experienced by patients with CLI. If this is true and appropriate therapy becomes available, the prognosis of patients with CLI will improve with appropriate risk management strategies to prevent cardiovascular events. Therefore, the aim of this study was to verify this hypothesis.Methods:
We studied 114 patients who underwent revascularization and computed tomography between January 2002 and December 2012 in the Department of Surgery and Sciences at Kyushu University in Japan. Sarcopenia was defined as skeletal muscle area measured by L3-level computed tomography scan <114.0 cm2 and <89.8 cm2 for men and women, respectively. Clinical characteristics, cardiovascular event-free survival, <2-year death, causes of death, and effective treatments for sarcopenia were investigated.Results:
We identified 53 (46.5%) patients with sarcopenia. Three-year cardiovascular event-free survival rates were 43.1% and 91.2% for patients with and without sarcopenia, respectively (P < .01). During follow-up, cardiovascular disease caused the deaths of 4 and 15 patients without and with sarcopenia (P < .01), respectively, and in particular, ischemic heart disease caused the deaths of 0 and 5 patients without or with sarcopenia (P < .05), respectively. Single antiplatelet therapy (SAPT; hazard ratio, 0.46; 95% confidence interval, 0.24-0.82; P < .01) and statin therapy (hazard ratio, 0.38; 95% confidence interval, 0.16-0.78; P < .01) were independent factors associated with improved cardiovascular event-free survival. Three-year cardiovascular event-free survival rates for patients with sarcopenia who received SAPT, dual antiplatelet therapies, and no antiplatelet therapy were 75.3%, 21.1%, and 29.5%, respectively (P < .01).Conclusions:
Sarcopenia is a risk factor for worse cardiovascular event-free survival, and SAPT and statin therapy reduced this risk for patients with CLI. Furthermore, SAPT but not dual antiplatelet therapy increased cardiovascular event-free survival in patients with sarcopenia.