Longitudinal Changes in Muscle Mass, Muscle Strength, and Physical Performance in Acutely Hospitalized Older Adults

Jesse J Aarden, Esmee M Reijnierse, Marike van der Schaaf, Martin van der Esch, Lucienne A Reichardt, Rosanne van Seben, Jos A Bosch, Jos W R Twisk, Andrea B Maier, Raoul H H Engelbert, Bianca M Buurman

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Objectives: Acute hospitalization may lead to a decrease in muscle measures, but limited studies are reporting on the changes after discharge. The aim of this study was to determine longitudinal changes in muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance in acutely hospitalized older adults from admission up to 3 months post-discharge. Design: A prospective observational cohort study was conducted. Setting and Participants: This study included 401 participants aged ≥70 years who were acutely hospitalized in 6 hospitals. All variables were assessed at hospital admission, discharge, and 1 and 3 months post-discharge. Methods: Muscle mass in kilograms was assessed by multifrequency Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis (MF-BIA) (Bodystat; Quadscan 4000) and muscle strength by handgrip strength (JAMAR). Chair stand and gait speed test were assessed as part of the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). Norm values were based on the consensus statement of the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People. Results: A total of 343 acute hospitalized older adults were included in the analyses with a mean (SD) age of 79.3 (6.6) years, 49.3% were women. From admission up to 3 months post-discharge, muscle mass (−0.1 kg/m 2; P =.03) decreased significantly and muscle strength (−0.5 kg; P =.08) decreased nonsignificantly. The chair stand (+0.7 points; P <.001) and gait speed test (+0.9 points; P <.001) improved significantly up to 3 months post-discharge. At 3 months post-discharge, 80%, 18%, and 43% of the older adults scored below the cutoff points for muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance, respectively. Conclusions and Implications: Physical performance improved during and after acute hospitalization, although muscle mass decreased, and muscle strength did not change. At 3 months post-discharge, muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance did not reach normative levels on a population level. Further research is needed to examine the role of exercise interventions for improving muscle measures and physical performance after hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-845.e1
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number4
Early online date8 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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