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Evaluating health-related quality of life in patients with sarcopenia

The normal ageing process is accompanied by progressive declines in muscle mass and strength. Abnormal and excessive losses of skeletal muscle mass and quality emerge as a consequence of age-related musculoskeletal disorders, e.g. sarcopenia. The latter confers affected patients with increased risks of adverse outcomes, including falls, fractures, and mortality. Moreover, sarcopenic patients often exhibit higher levels of dependency and disability, both of which impact their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). HRQoL measures are well-characterised predictors of hard clinical outcomes, including hospitalisation and mortality. Accordingly, the use of sarcopenia-specific HRQoL tools in clinical practice and interventional trials is recommended by recent European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP2) guidelines.

This meta-analysis aimed to characterise the relationship between sarcopenia and patient-reported HRQoL.

Key learnings:

A significantly lower HRQoL was noted for sarcopenic individuals compared with nonโ€sarcopenic ones. Moreover, compared to their community-dwelling counterparts, individuals residing in care facilities exhibited a large difference in HRQoL between sarcopenia and non-sarcopenic patients. Importantly, a greater effect size was observed when analyses focused on studies employing SarQoL, the only validated sarcopenia-specific HRQoL questionnaire, instead of generic tools. These findings suggest that disease-specific HRQoL tools provide a more accurate evaluation of sarcopenic patients with respect to their quality of life.

Reviewed by: S. Duarte

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