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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

Frequency of sarcopenia and associated factors among hospitalized elderly patients

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Bruno Prata Martinez, Anne Karine Menezes Santos Batista, Isabela Barboza Gomes, Flávia Milholo Olivieri, Fernanda Warken Rosa Camelier, Aquiles Assunção Camelier
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

BPM, FWRC and AAC participated in the conception, design and conduct of the study. AKMSB, IBG and FMO participated in conduct of the study. BPM drafted the first version of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Sarcopenia is an important public health problem that affects mainly elders, and has negative consequences, such as disability and even death. Due to the lack of studies evaluating sarcopenia in elderly persons hospitalized in Brazil, the aim of the present study was to describe the frequency of sarcopenia and associated factors among elders in a hospital in the city of Salvador - Brazil.


This cross-sectional study included 110 hospitalized elderly patients in a multi-specialty hospital in Salvador-BA, Brazil. Inclusion criteria: were elders aged ≥60 years between the first and fifth day of hospitalization; who were able to walk without external assistance; with medical permission to walk, and who did not take vasoactive and inotropic drugs. The diagnosis of sarcopenia was determined by combining the reduction in skeletal muscle mass with muscle weakness (women, <20 kg; men, <30 kg) and/or poor physical performance (gait speed ≤0.8 m/s). To obtain reduced skeletal muscle mass, the skeletal muscle mass index ≤6.37 kg/m2 for women and ≤8.90 kg/m2 for men was used. Cognitive function, Charlson index, admission profile (clinical and surgical), smoking, falls suffered in the last year and physical inactivity prior to admission were also evaluated. The frequency of sarcopenia was described in percentages with their respective confidence intervals and logistic regression was performed for multivariate analysis of factors associated with sarcopenia.


Among the 110 patients included, the frequency of sarcopenia was 21.8%, with 10.0% being of the severe type. There was a predominance of clinical profile (59.1%), such as heart disease (20.0%), pneumonia (13.6%) and skin infections (9.1%), with a Charlson index of 5.4 ± 1.8. The factors associated with sarcopenia were age (OR = 1.14; 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.23), clinical profile on admission (OR = 5.15; 95% CI = 1.16–22.9) and smoking (OR = 7.8; 95% CI = 1.53–39.9).


The frequency of sarcopenia in elderly hospitalized patients was high (1 in 5 elderly) and anthropometric equation can be a viable and inexpensive alternative to screening and programming intervention in this population.
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