Sarcopenia Is Common in Overweight Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and May Predict Need for Surgery

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Abstract

Background:

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with altered body composition, such as low muscle mass, which affects clinical outcomes. Body composition changes in overweight patients with IBD are less understood. The study aim was to determine the prevalence of sarcopenic overweight and obese patients in a cohort of patients with IBD starting new anti-tumor necrosis factor-α therapy and examine differences in response.

Methods:

This is a retrospective review of patients with IBD starting a new anti-tumor necrosis factor-α medication that had computed tomography within 3 months of initiation. L3 vertebral slice was used for segmentation of body composition and identification of sarcopenia. CRP, ESR, Harvey Bradshaw Index, albumin, 25-OH vitamin D, and body mass index at anti-tumor necrosis factor-α initiation and at 6 months were collected. Outcomes included hospitalization, need for surgery, or new biological medication.

Results:

Ninety patients were studied. Forty-one of ninety (45%) were sarcopenic; of these, 17 (41.5%) had a normal body mass index and 8 (19.5%) were overweight/obese. More men were sarcopenic (68% versus 32%, P < 0.001). CRP was higher and albumin lower in sarcopenic subjects. Sarcopenia did not predict outcomes in the cohort but was the only significant predictor of need for surgery in overweight and obese subjects (P = 0.002).

Conclusions:

Almost half of our cohort was sarcopenic. Most of these patients are normal or overweight and would not be identified as malnourished by traditional measures. Sarcopenia was a predictor of surgery in patients with a body mass index ≥ 25. Identification of sarcopenia has implications for medical nutrition therapy as typically efforts are focused on underweight patients.

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