Background: Myosteatosis is associated with perioperative outcomes in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Here, we investigated the effects of body composition and myosteatosis on long-term graft and patient survival following OLT.
Methods: Clinical data from 225 consecutive OLT recipients from a prospective database were retrospectively analysed (May 2010 to December 2017). Computed tomography-based lumbar skeletal muscle index (SMI) (muscle mass) and mean skeletal muscle radiation attenuation (SM-RA) (myosteatosis) were calculated using a segmentation tool (3D Slicer). Patients with low skeletal muscle mass (low SMI) and myosteatosis (low SM-RA) were identified using predefined and validated cut-off values.
Results: The mean donor and recipient age was 55 ± 16 and 54 ± 12 years, respectively. Some 67% of the recipients were male. The probability of graft and patient survival was significantly lower in patients with myosteatosis compared with patients with higher SM-RA values (P = 0.011 and P = 0.001, respectively). Low skeletal muscle mass alone was not associated with graft and patient survival (P = 0.273 and P = 0.278, respectively). Dividing the cohort into quartiles, based on the values of SMI and SM-RA, resulted in significant differences in patient but not in graft survival (P = 0.011). Even though multivariable analysis identified low SM-RA as an important prognostic marker (hazard ratio: 2.260, 95% confidence interval: 1.177-4.340, P = 0.014), myosteatosis lost its significance when early mortality (90 days) was excluded from the final multivariable model. Patients with myosteatosis showed significantly higher all-cause mortality and in particular higher rates of deaths due to respiratory and septic complication (P = 0.002, P = 0.022, and P = 0.049, respectively).
Conclusions: Preoperative myosteatosis may be an important prognostic marker in patients undergoing deceased donor liver transplantation. The prognostic value of myosteatosis seems to be particularly important in the early post-operative phase. Validation in prospective clinical trials is warranted.