Calf circumference: clinical validation for evaluation of muscle mass in the elderly

Rev Bras Enferm. 2018 Mar-Apr;71(2):322-328. doi: 10.1590/0034-7167-2017-0121.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Objective: To validate calf circumference as a technology for assessing muscle mass in the elderly.

Method: Cross-sectional study with 132 elderly people from Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil. Decreased muscle mass was determined by the skeletal muscle mass index (IME) using Dual Energy X-Ray Absortometry (DEXA). The cutoff circumferences (CC) cutoff points to indicate muscle mass decrease were estimated by ROC curve, sensitivity, specificity and accuracy.

Results: The most accurate cut-off points for detecting decreased muscle mass in the elderly were 34 cm for men (sensitivity: 71.5%, specificity: 77.4%) and 33 cm for women (sensitivity: 80.0%; specificity: 84.6%).

Conclusion: CC can be used as a measure for early identification of muscle mass decrease in routine evaluations of the elderly in primary care.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anthropometry / instrumentation
  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Brazil
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / anatomy & histology
  • Lower Extremity / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results*
  • Weights and Measures / instrumentation*