Sarcopenia predicts poor long-term survival in patients undergoing endovascular aortic aneurysm repair.

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Sarcopenia measured by decreased psoas muscle size has been used as a surrogate for frailty and correlates with adverse outcomes in both the short and long term after many major operations. Our aim was to evaluate this measure as a predictor of outcomes in patients undergoing endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR).


Once Institutional Review Board approval was obtained, all patients who underwent EVAR from December 2010 to March 2016 at a Veterans Affairs hospital were assessed for sarcopenia by total psoas muscle area (TPA) measured on axial computed tomography scan immediately inferior to the fourth lumbar (L4) superior end plate. Outcomes including length of stay and mortality were collected from the medical record.


There were 135 patients who underwent EVAR at a median age of 70 years. Median aneurysm size was 5.5 cm. Length of stay was >2 days in 25% of patients (n = 33), with the most common reasons for delayed discharge including respiratory complications (8.9% [n = 12]) and urinary retention (4.0% [n = 9]). Low TPA was not associated with extended length of stay (P = .40). Patients with lowest tertile TPA had 42% 5-year survival compared with 93% survival observed for the remaining two-thirds of patients (P = .01). Multivariate analysis revealed increased likelihood of mortality at 5 years for patients in the lowest tertile for TPA (odds ratio, 3.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-12.9) as well as for patients with chronic kidney disease (odds ratio, 5.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-18.0).


Preoperative sarcopenia does not appear to affect length of stay but does portend worse long-term survival. This simple preoperative measurement may help vascular surgeons tailor repair thresholds and avoid nonbeneficial procedures.

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