Sarcopenia associates with increased hospitalization rates and reduced survival in patients with chronic pancreatitis

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Background: Objectives: Malnutrition is a well-known complication of chronic pancreatitis and alterations in body composition are common in this context. We investigated the prevalence of sarcopenia in patients with chronic pancreatitis, its associated risk factors and health-related outcome. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of chronic pancreatitis outpatients. Bioelectric impedance was used to measure body composition, and a handheld dynamometer and the timed-up-and-go test characterized muscle function. Several demographic and disease characteristics, including exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), were analyzed for their association with sarcopenia. The EORCT QLQ-C30 questionnaire was used to document life quality, and associations between sarcopenia and the number of hospital admissions, the number of in-hospital days and survival over the next 12 months were analyzed. Results: A total of 182 patients were enrolled in the study. The prevalence of sarcopenia was 17.0% (95% CI; 11.9–23.3) and 74% of sarcopenic patients had a BMI in the normal or overweight range (BMI >18.5 kg/m 2 ). EPI was an independent risk factor for sarcopenia (OR 3.8 95% CI [1.2–12.5]; p = 0.03). Several QLQ-C30 scales and items were associated with sarcopenia including physical functioning (p < 0.001) and global health (p = 0.003). During follow-up, sarcopenia was associated with an increased risk of hospitalization (OR 2.2 95% CI [0.9–5.0]; p = 0.07), increased number of in-hospital days (p < 0.001), and reduced survival (HR 6.7 [95% CI; 1.8–25.0]; p = 0.005). Conclusion: Sarcopenia is a common complication of chronic pancreatitis and associates with adverse health-related outcomes. As sarcopenia is not recognized by conventional anthropometric parameters in the majority of patients, systematic nutritional assessment should be prioritized.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Body mass index
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Hospitalization
  • Quality of life
  • Sarcopenia
  • Survival


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