Korean J Radiol.  2021 Feb;22(2):189-197. 10.3348/kjr.2019.0750.

Serial Observations of Muscle and Fat Mass as Prognostic Factors for Deceased Donor Liver Transplantation

  • 1Department of Radiology and Center for Imaging Sciences, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Hanyang University Guri Hospital, Guri, Korea.
  • 4Department of Surgery, Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA
  • 5Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea.
  • 6Office of Public Healthcare Service, Chungbuk National University Hospital, Cheongju, Korea.


Muscle depletion in patients undergoing liver transplantation affects the recipients’ prognosis and therefore cannot be overlooked. We aimed to evaluate whether changes in muscle and fat mass during the preoperative period are associated with prognosis after deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT).
Materials and Methods
This study included 72 patients who underwent DDLT and serial computed tomography (CT) scans. Skeletal muscle index (SMI) and fat mass index (FMI) were calculated using the muscle and fat area in CT performed 1 year prior to surgery (1 yr Pre-LT), just before surgery (Pre-LT), and after transplantation (Post-LT). Simple aspects of serial changes in muscle and fat mass were analyzed during three measurement time points. The rate of preoperative changes in body composition parameters were calculated (preoperative ΔSMI [%] = [SMI at Pre-LT - SMI at 1 yr Pre-LT] / SMI at Pre-LT x 100; preoperative ΔFMI [%] = [FMI at Pre-LT - FMI at 1 yr Pre-LT] / FMI at Pre-LT x 100) and assessed for correlation with patient survival.
SMI significantly decreased during the preoperative period (mean preoperative ΔSMI, -13.04%, p < 0.001). In the multivariable analysis, preoperative ΔSMI (p = 0.016) and model for end-stage liver disease score (p = 0.011) were independent prognostic factors for overall survival. The mean survival time for patients with a threshold decrease in the preoperative ΔSMI (≤ -30%) was significantly shorter than for other patients (p = 0.007). Preoperative ΔFMI was not a prognostic factor but FMI increased during the postoperative period (p = 0.009) in all patients.
A large reduction in preoperative SMI was significantly associated with reduced survival after DDLT. Therefore, changes in muscle mass during the preoperative period can be considered as a prognostic factor for survival after DDLT.


Liver transplantation; Sarcopenia; Computed tomography; Preoperative period; Survival
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