Body composition in patients with type 2 intestinal failure

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Background: Measurement of body composition is a valuable clinical tool for nutrition assessments, but there are no data on the merits of assessment modalities in type 2 intestinal failure (IF). The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of low muscle mass and quality in type 2 IF, comparing bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA) and computed tomography (CT) at the third lumbar vertebra level. Methods: Patients admitted with acute severe (type 2) IF to a national UK IF center who had BIA measurement and CT scan as part of routine care within 40 days of anthropometric measurement were included in this cross-sectional study. Data were also collected on patient demographics and clinical characteristics. Results: Forty-four patients meeting inclusion criteria were included. Low muscle mass was detected in 37 out of 44 (84.1%) patients by CT scan and in 30 of out 44 (68.2%) by BIA. Low muscle quality was detected in 22 out of 44 (50%) patients by CT scan and in 40 out of 44 (90.1%) by BIA. Comparison of CT and BIA measurements showed a moderate correlation of muscle, Spearman ρ 0.65 (95% CI, 0.42–0.81; P < 0.001), and a strong correlation of body fat mass measurements, Spearman ρ 0.79 (95% CI, 0.62–0.89; P < 0.001). Conclusion: This is the first study to demonstrate that low muscle mass is common in patients with type 2 IF, regardless of body composition assessment modality. A larger cohort study is required to validate the impact of low muscle mass and quality on clinical outcomes and the role of targeted interventions to improve the care of patients with type 2 IF.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
Early online date1 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021


  • bioelectrical impedance
  • body composition
  • computed tomography
  • intestinal failure
  • muscle mass


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