Muscle Wasting Common in Normal-Weight COPD Patients

Researchers recommend measuring fat-free mass as part of routine COPD assessment

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Muscle wasting is common in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), even in those with a normal body mass index (BMI). Thus, the fat-free mass index (FFMI) should be considered in addition to BMI in the routine assessment of COPD, according to a study published in the Jan. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Jorgen Vestbo, M.D., of Hvidovre Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues followed 1,898 COPD patients for a mean of seven years.

The researchers report that a low FFMI was prevalent even among subjects with a normal BMI. Among subjects with normal BMI, 26.1% had an FFMI in the lowest 10th percentile of the general population. The investigators found that mortality in subjects with an FFMI below the 10th percentile was 57% compared to 32% in subjects above the 10th percentile.

"Given the fact that a cure for COPD is far away, better medical care can help patients to enjoy a longer and better life," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "Assessment of muscle mass needs to be a part of the evaluation of our patients suffering from COPD. Addressing alterations in skeletal muscle function should clearly be an important part in our management of patients with COPD."

Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial

Physician's Briefing