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Explaining and combatting the knowledge gaps surrounding sarcopenia


Article: Sarcopenia is a serious disease and should be taken seriously

Sarcopenia is characterised by an age-related decline in muscle mass and strength combined with impairments in physical function. The risk of falls, fractures, and death is doubled in individuals with sarcopenia compared to those without. This patient population also frequently possesses comorbid diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This may significantly increase their risk of suffering adverse outcomes post-surgery.

The aim of this editorial was to expose the serious nature of sarcopenia and underscore associated knowledge gaps in clinical practice.

Key learnings:

The latest consensus by the European Working Group on Sarcopenia (EWGSOP2) defined low muscle strength, and not mass, as sarcopenia’s primary characteristic. However, muscle mass measured by computed tomography (CT) may be a promising diagnostic tool for the identification of patients at risk of postoperative adverse outcomes. Furthermore, tools for the diagnosis of sarcopenia are not widely used in clinical practice due to persistent knowledge gaps and unavailable equipment. Both educational interventions and equipment to measure muscle mass and strength should be provided for healthcare professionals in an effort to shed light on the severity of sarcopenia.

Reviewed by: S. Duarte

Authors: Maier AB

Published in: ANZ Journal of Surgery 2022

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