Objective: In patients with COVID-19, the possibility of sarcopenia has climbed further by adding inflammation, malnutrition, and physical inactivity to pre-existing health conditions. This study aimed to examine the sarcopenia status and related factors of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in the near term after discharge.

Methods: Patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 were included in this cross-sectional study on the 14th day after discharge. Examinations of the patients were performed in the post-COVID-19 follow-up outpatient clinic and then comprehensive assessments were made in the geriatric medicine outpatient clinic. Anthropometric measurements, handgrip strength, muscle mass assessment by ultrasonography, and bioelectrical impedance analysis were performed. Grip strength cut-offs were taken as 16 kg for females and 27 kg for males, and those lower than these values were accepted as having probable sarcopenia.

Results: In total, 49 patients participated and their mean age was 59.0 ± 12.4 years, while the ratio of female participants was 53.1% (n = 26). Of the patients, 49.0% (n = 24) had multimorbidity. There were 17 (34.7%) probable sarcopenic patients. In bioelectrical impedance analysis measurements, the fat ratio was higher (P < .05), and appendicular skeletal muscle index was lower in probable sarcopenic patients (P < .001). In ultrasonography measurements, gastrocnemius muscle thickness, gastrocnemius fascicle length, rectus femoris muscle thickness, and rectus femoris cross-sectional area were lower in probable sarcopenic patients (P < .05 for all), but there was no difference in trunk muscles (P > .05). Among anthropometric measurements, mid-arm and calf circumferences were lower in probable sarcopenic patients (P < .05 for all). In regression analysis, as a result of the model created, multimorbidity was associated with probable sarcopenia (odds ratio: 3.9, 95% CI: 1.06-14.30, P = .04).

Conclusion: The possibility of sarcopenia increases in patients with COVID-19, especially the group with multimorbidity should be evaluated in terms of sarcopenia to prevent adverse health outcomes related to sarcopenia. Handgrip strength, bioelectrical impedance analysis, ultrasonography, and anthropometric measurements can be used in the evaluation of sarcopenia.

Keywords: COVID-19, malnutrition, sarcopenia

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How to cite

Ceylan S, Özturk Y, Güner Oytun M, et al. Evaluation of Sarcopenia in COVID-19 Survivors: A Common But Overlooked Problem. Clin Sci Nutr. 2022;4(2):46-53. doi:10.5152/ClinSciNutr.2022.221029