Relation of Muscle Mass and Fat Mass to Cardiovascular Disease Mortality

Am J Cardiol. 2016 Apr 15;117(8):1355-60. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.01.033. Epub 2016 Feb 2.


We evaluated the relation between components of body composition and mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Dual x-ray absorptiometry body composition data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999 to 2004 was linked to total and CVD mortality data 1999 to 2006 in 6,451 patients with CVD. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis for the end points of total and CVD mortality was plotted by quartiles of muscle mass, fat mass, and categories of body mass index (BMI). Subjects were stratified into 4 groups (low muscle/low fat mass, low muscle/high fat mass, high muscle/low fat mass, and high muscle/high fat mass). Adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression determined hazard ratios for total and CVD mortality. Rates of cardiovascular/total mortality were lower in higher quartiles of muscle mass, fat mass, and higher categories of BMI (p <0.001). The high muscle/low fat mass group had a lower risk of CVD and total mortality (risk-adjusted hazard ratios of 0.32, 95% confidence interval 0.14 to 0.73 and 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.22 to 0.68, for CVD and total mortality, respectively). Thus, increasing fat mass, muscle mass, and BMI were all correlated with improved survival. The specific subgroup of high muscle and low fat mass had the lowest mortality risk compared with other body composition subtypes. This suggests the importance of body composition assessment in the prediction of cardiovascular and total mortality in patients with CVD.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / methods*
  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nutrition Surveys / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • United States / epidemiology