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.

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American Journal of Transplantation
Department of Surgery

van Vugt, J., Levolger, S., de Bruin, R., van Rosmalen, J., Metselaar, H., & IJzermans, J. (2016). Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Computed Tomography–Assessed Skeletal Muscle Mass on Outcome in Patients Awaiting or Undergoing Liver Transplantation. American Journal of Transplantation (Vol. 16, pp. 2277–2292). doi:10.1111/ajt.13732