Protocol for understanding acute sarcopenia: a cohort study to characterise changes in muscle quantity and physical function in older adults following hospitalisation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • Department of Computing and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, UK, and CERCIA, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK


BACKGROUND: Older adults are vulnerable to the effects of acute sarcopenia (acute muscle insufficiency) following hospitalisation. However, this condition remains poorly characterised to date. It is hypothesised that acute sarcopenia arises due to a combination of bed rest and inflammatory surge. This study aims to characterise changes in muscle quantity and function, determining which factors (clinical and biological) are most predictive, and how these relate to change in physical function at 13 weeks.

METHODS: This study will include three groups of patients aged 70 years and older; patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery, patients admitted for emergency abdominal surgery, and patients admitted under general medicine with acute bacterial infections. Changes in muscle quantity (Bilateral Anterior Thigh Thickness with ultrasound and bioelectrical impedance analysis) and muscle function (muscle strength, physical performance) within 1 week of hospitalisation or surgery will be characterised, with follow-up of patients at 13 weeks. Physical function will be measured using the Patient Reported Outcome Measures Information System, and the Short Physical Performance Battery (or gait speed alone within 1 week of surgery).

DISCUSSION: This study will fully characterise changes in muscle quantity and function in hospitalised older adults and enable risk stratification towards targeted interventions in clinical practice. The results of this study will inform further research involving interventions to ameliorate changes.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT03858192 ; Prospectively registered 28th February 2019.


Original languageEnglish
Article number239
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2020


  • Acute sarcopenia, Physical function, Older adults, Hospitalisation