Bio-electrical impedance analysis: a valid assessment tool for diagnosis of low appendicular lean mass in older adults?

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Background: The diagnosis of sarcopenia is essential for early treatment of sarcopenia in older adults, for which assessment of appendicular lean mass (ALM) is needed. Multi-frequency bio-electrical impedance analysis (MF-BIA) may be a valid assessment tool to assess ALM in older adults, but the evidences are limited. Therefore, we validated the BIA to diagnose low ALM in older adults.

Methods: ALM was assessed by a standing-posture 8 electrode MF-BIA (Tanita MC-780) in 202 community-dwelling older adults (age ≥ 55 years), and compared with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) (Hologic Inc., Marlborough, MA, United States; DXA). The validity for assessing the absolute values of ALM was evaluated by: (1) bias (mean difference), (2) percentage of accurate predictions (within 5% of DXA values), (3) the mean absolute error (MAE), and (4) limits of agreement (Bland-Altman analysis). The lowest quintile of ALM by DXA was used as proxy for low ALM (< 22.8 kg for men, < 16.1 kg for women). Sensitivity and specificity of diagnosing low ALM by BIA were assessed.

Results: The mean age of the subjects was 72.1 ± 6.4 years, with a BMI of 25.4 ± 3.6 kg/m2, and 71% were women. BIA slightly underestimated ALM compared to DXA with a mean bias of -0.6 ± 1.2 kg. The percentage of accurate predictions was 54% with a MAE of 1.1 kg, and limits of agreement were -3.0 to + 1.8 kg. The sensitivity for ALM was 80%, indicating that 80% of subjects who were diagnosed as low ALM according to DXA were also diagnosed low ALM by BIA. The specificity was 90%, indicating that 90% of subjects who were diagnosed as normal ALM by DXA were also diagnosed as normal ALM by the BIA.

Conclusion: This comparison showed a poor validity of MF-BIA to assess the absolute values of ALM, but a reasonable sensitivity and specificity to recognize the community-dwelling older adults with the lowest muscle mass.

Original languageEnglish
Article number874980
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2022


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