Sarcopenia can be defined as significant loss of muscle function as a result of decreased muscle bulk. The definition was originally restricted to elderly individuals only, however many use it for people of any age.

A direct evaluation of muscle mass on imaging can be performed. Conversely, a reduction in grip strength and low gait speed may be used as functional markers. 

Specific criteria include 1:

  • grip strength
    • <26 kg for men
    • <16 kg for women
  • low lean body mass (appendicular lean mass modified for body mass index)
    • <0.789 for men
    • <0.512 for women

Radiographic features

Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is the gold-standard imaging modality in the evaluation of sarcopenia and has been used for the greatest number of trials 1.

Ultrasound, CT and MRI have also been used in the assessment 1. Proposed assessments of psoas muscle using CT include psoas index and Hounsfield unit average calculation 1.


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Article information

rID: 51122
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Muscle wasting
  • Myopenia

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