Psoas and Paraspinous Muscle Measurements on Computed Tomography Predict Mortality in European Americans with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

J Frailty Aging. 2019;8(2):72-78. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2019.5.


Background: Appendicular skeletal muscle mass index and muscle attenuation (density) are negatively associated with mortality in European-derived populations.

Objectives: The present analyses assessed association between axial skeletal muscle density and muscle index with mortality in European Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D).

Design: Single-center observational study.

Setting: Diabetes Heart Study.

Participants: 839 European Americans with T2D.

Methods: Computed tomography-measured psoas and paraspinous muscle mass index (cross sectional area/height2) and radiographic density (Hounsfield Units) were assessed in all participants. A Cox proportional hazards model was computed. The fully-adjusted model included covariates age, sex, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, diabetes duration, insulin use, hormone replacement therapy (women), prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, and coronary artery calcified atherosclerotic plaque mass score. Deaths were recorded in the National Death Index data through December 31, 2015.

Results: Participants included 428 women and 411 men with median (25th, 75th quartile) age 62.8 (56.1, 69.1) years and diabetes duration 8.0 (5.0, 14.0) years. After 11.9 (9.4, 13.3) years of follow-up, 314 (37.4%) of participants were deceased. In the fully-adjusted model, psoas muscle density (hazard ratio [HR] 0.81, p<0.001), psoas muscle index (HR 0.82, p=0.008), and paraspinous muscle density (HR 0.85, p=0.003) were inversely associated with mortality. Paraspinous muscle index was not significantly associated with mortality (HR 0.90, p=0.08). Results did not differ significantly between men and women.

Conclusions: In addition to established risk factors for mortality and CVD, higher psoas muscle index, psoas muscle density, and paraspinous muscle density were significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality in European Americans with T2D.

Keywords: European American; computed tomography; mortality; muscle; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraspinal Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Paraspinal Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Psoas Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Psoas Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*