Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Computed Tomography-Assessed Skeletal Muscle Mass on Outcome in Patients Awaiting or Undergoing Liver Transplantation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

213 Citations (Scopus)


Liver transplant outcome has improved considerably as a direct result of optimized surgical and anesthesiological techniques and organ allocation programs. Because there remains a shortage of human organs, strict selection of transplant candidates remains of paramount importance. Recently, computed tomography (CT)-assessed low skeletal muscle mass (i.e. sarcopenia) was identified as a novel prognostic parameter to predict outcome in liver transplant candidates. A systematic review and meta-analysis on the impact of CT-assessed skeletal muscle mass on outcome in liver transplant candidates were performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. Nineteen studies, including 3803 patients in partly overlapping cohorts, fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The prevalence of sarcopenia ranged from 22.2% to 70%. An independent association between low muscle mass and posttransplantation and waiting list mortality was described in 4 of the 6 and 6 of the 11 studies, respectively. The pooled hazard ratios of sarcopenia were 1.84 (95% confidence interval 1.11-3.05, p = 0.02) and 1.72 (95% confidence interval 0.99-3.00, p = 0.05) for posttransplantation and waiting list mortality, respectively, independent of Model for End-stage Liver Disease score. Less-consistent evidence suggested a higher complication rate, particularly infections, in sarcopenic patients. In conclusion, sarcopenia is an independent predictor for outcome in liver transplantation patients and could be used for risk assessment. This systematic review and meta-analysis describes the association between low skeletal muscle mass and impaired outcome in patients listed for or undergoing liver transplantation.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2277-2292
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this