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      Body composition and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

      The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

      Severity of Illness Index, Body Composition, Body Weight, Cachexia, classification, complications, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive, mortality, pathology, Reference Values, Respiratory Function Tests

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          Abstract

          Survival studies have consistently shown significantly greater mortality rates in underweight and normal-weight patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than in overweight and obese COPD patients. To compare the contributions of low fat-free mass and low fat mass to mortality, we assessed the association between body composition and mortality in COPD. We studied 412 patients with moderate-to-severe COPD [Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (GOLD) stages II-IV, forced expiratory volume in 1 s of 36 +/- 14% of predicted (range: 19-70%). Body composition was assessed by using single-frequency bioelectrical impedance. Body mass index, fat-free mass index, fat mass index, and skeletal muscle index were calculated and related to recently developed reference values. COPD patients were stratified into defined categories of tissue-depletion pattern. Overall mortality was assessed at the end of follow-up. Semistarvation and muscle atrophy were equally distributed among disease stages, but the highest prevalence of cachexia was seen in GOLD stage IV. Forty-six percent of the patients (n = 189) died during a maximum follow-up of 5 y. Cox regression models, with and without adjustment for disease severity, showed that fat-free mass index (relative risk: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.84, 0.96; P = 0.003) was an independent predictor of survival, but fat mass index was not. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression plots for cachexia and muscle atrophy did not differ significantly. Fat-free mass is an independent predictor of mortality irrespective of fat mass. This study supports the inclusion of body-composition assessment as a systemic marker of disease severity in COPD staging.

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