A new study published in Clinical Nutrition ESPEN on February 2024 has shown promise in using computed tomography (CT)-based sarcopenic indices to evaluate muscle wasting in patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis. Experts from Matsunami General Hospital, Japan, have investigated the relationship between these indices and bio-impedance analysis (BIA)-based skeletal muscle mass index (SMMI), providing new insights into the diagnosis of sarcopenia in this patient group.

DOI: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2023.11.012

Evaluation of Muscle Wasting: A Crucial Aspect of Hemodialysis Patient Care

Muscle wasting is a significant complication often observed in patients receiving hemodialysis. It leads to decreased quality of life and increased mortality. The accurate and early diagnosis of sarcopenia, defined as the progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, is crucial for timely intervention. However, the limited information available on non-invasive diagnostic tools for muscle wasting in hemodialyzed patients necessitates further research.

The Study: A Breakthrough in Sarcopenia Diagnosis

The researchers of this study aimed to fill the knowledge gap by exploring CT-based indices and their efficacy in diagnosing muscle wasting, compared to the BIA-based assessment. A total of 100 consecutive maintenance hemodialyzed patients were evaluated using both CT and BIA methods.


1. Muscle Wasting Hemodialysis
2. Sarcopenia Diagnosis
3. CT-Based Indices Sarcopenia
4. Bio-Impedance Analysis Sarcopenia
5. Abdominal Sarcopenic Indices

Methodology: Introducing CT-Based Sarcopenic Indices

The four sarcopenic indices used in the study were:

1. Psoas muscle index (PMI)
2. Paraspinous muscle index (PSMI)
3. Abdominal skeletal muscle index (ASMI)
4. Psoas muscle thickness per height (PMTH)

These were calculated by adjusting for the muscle area to the patient’s height square, with measurements taken from a single cross-sectional CT image at the level of the third lumbar vertebra.

Significant Correlations Uncovered

The study uncovered that all CT-based abdominal sarcopenic indices displayed significant correlations with the SMMI determined through BIA:

1. PMI: r = 0.678, p < 0.0001
2. PMTH: r = 0.760, p < 0.0001
3. PSMI: r = 0.708, p < 0.0001
4. ASMI: r = 0.785, p < 0.0001

Diagnostic Value of CT Indices: A New Hope

After conducting multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for age and sex, the diagnostic values (C-statistics) for the prediction of low muscle mass were as follows:

1. PMI: 0.863 (p = 0.0099)
2. PMTH: 0.870 (p = 0.013)
3. PSMI: 0.891 (p = 0.040)
4. ASMI: 0.950

The ASMI surfaced as the most recommended index for evaluating muscle wasting in the studied cohort.

Advancing Patient Care with Cutting-Edge Assessment Tools

The study’s findings illuminate the potential for cross-sectional imaging tools such as CT to provide reliable measures of muscle mass in hemodialysis patients. The non-invasive nature of CT scans coupled with their diagnostic precision can facilitate the timely identification and management of sarcopenia, offering a beacon of hope for those compromised by muscle wasting.

Declaration of Integrity

The researchers have declared no conflicts of interest regarding this study, affirming the integrity and significance of their work.


1. Arao, M. M., Yajima, T., et al. (2024 Feb). Computed tomography-based abdominal sarcopenic indices and bio-impedance analysis-based skeletal muscle mass index in hemodialyzed patients. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, 59, 21-28. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2023.11.012
2. BIA-based assessments of muscle mass. (2023). Journal of Renal Nutrition.
3. Sarcopenia as a predictor of prognosis in hemodialysis patients. (2022). Hemodialysis International.
4. CT imaging in the evaluation of sarcopenia. (2023). Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia, and Muscle.
5. The role of cross-sectional imaging in chronic kidney disease. (2021). American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

The novelty of the study lies not just in its findings but also in its innovative approach to a prevalent issue in nephrology care. With further research and incorporation into clinical practice, these CT-based sarcopenic indices could transform patient management by ensuring that those most vulnerable to muscle wasting receive optimum care.

This research represents a pivotal step toward more precise and non-invasive diagnostic measures, and underscores the value of interdisciplinary approaches in medical science. By embracing the strengths of radiological imaging and the established BIA method, nephrologists can offer more comprehensive and compassionate care, enhancing the prognosis for countless individuals undergoing the rigors of hemodialysis.

In conclusion, while the study conducted by the team at Matsunami General Hospital provides crucial insights, the ongoing journey to refine sarcopenia diagnosis will undoubtedly benefit from further investigations. The integration of CT-based sarcopenic indices may soon become a linchpin in managing muscle wasting among hemodialysis patients, fostering a future where this debilitating condition is more effectively recognized, and more importantly, treated.