Ann Rehabil Med.  2020 Feb;44(1):20-37. 10.5535/arm.2020.44.1.20.

Suggested Assessments for Sarcopenia in Patients With Stroke Who Can Walk Independently

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2International Healthcare Research Institute, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea


To investigate variables for assessment of stroke-related sarcopenia that are alternative options to the current assessment for sarcopenia, which focuses on age-related sarcopenia and also has limitations in addressing sarcopenia due to weakness resulting from stroke.
Forty patients (17 men, 23 women; mean age, 66.9±15.4 years) with first-ever stroke who can walk independently were included. Muscle mass was determined by measuring ultrasonographic muscle thickness of vastus intermedius, rectus femoris, tibialis anterior, medial gastrocnemius, and biceps brachii muscles in addition to using the skeletal muscle index (SMI) with bioelectrical impedance analysis. Muscle strength was assessed with the Medical Research Council (MRC) sum score as well as handgrip (HG) strength. Physical performance was measured by the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) along with 4-meter gait speed (4MGS). Correlations between each assessment in the three categories were analyzed and adjusted by stroke severity, comorbidity, and nutritional status.
For muscle mass, SMI showed the highest correlation with the tibialis anterior muscle (r=0.783, p<0.001) among the other muscles. Regarding muscle strength, the MRC sum score correlated with the HG (r=0.660, p<0.001). For physical performance, the BBS correlated with the 4MGS (r=0.834, p<0.001). The same result was obtained after adjusting for factors of stroke severity, comorbidity, and nutritional status.
These results suggest that ultrasonographic muscle thickness of the tibialis anterior, the MRC sum score, and BBS might be alternatives to SMI, HG, and usual gait speed for sarcopenia in stroke patients.


Sarcopenia; Stroke; Balance; Skeletal muscle; Ultrasonography
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