Effect of sarcopenia on survival and spinal cord deficit outcomes after thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair in patients 60 years of age and older

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2021 Jun 4;S0022-5223(21)00882-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2021.05.037. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Sarcopenia (core muscle loss) has been used as a surrogate marker of frailty. We investigated whether sarcopenia would adversely affect survival after thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed prospectively collected data from patients aged 60 years or older who underwent thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repairs from 2006 to 2016. Imaging was reviewed by 2 radiologists blinded to clinical outcomes. The total psoas index was derived from total psoas muscle cross-sectional area (cm2) at the mid-L4 level, normalized for height (m2). Patients were divided by sex-specific total psoas index values into sarcopenia (lower third) and nonsarcopenia (upper two-thirds) groups. Multivariable modeling identified operative mortality and spinal cord injury predictors. Unadjusted and adjusted survival curves were analyzed.

Results: Of 392 patients identified, those with sarcopenia (n = 131) were older than nonsarcopenic patients (n = 261) (70.0 years vs 68.0 years; P = .02) and more frequently presented with aortic rupture or required urgent/emergency operations. Operative mortality was comparable (sarcopenia 13.7% vs nonsarcopenia 10.0%; P = .3); sarcopenia was not associated with operative mortality in the multivariable model (odds ratio, 1.40; 95% confidence interval, 0.73-2.77; P = .3). Sarcopenic patients experienced more frequent delayed (13.0% vs 4.6%; P = .005) and persistent (10.7% vs 3.4%; P = .008) paraplegia. Sarcopenia independently predicted delayed paraplegia (odds ratio, 3.17; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-7.08; P = .005) and persistent paraplegia (odds ratio, 3.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.33-8.13; P = .01) in the multivariable model. Adjusted for preoperative/operative covariates, midterm survival was similar for sarcopenic and nonsarcopenic patients (P = .3).

Conclusions: Sarcopenia did not influence early mortality or midterm survival after thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair but was associated with greater risk for delayed and persistent paraplegia.

Keywords: aortic aneurysm; frailty; paraplegia; psoas muscles; sarcopenia; survival; thoracic.