Sarcopenia and Physical Function in Middle-Aged and Older Stroke Survivors

Alice S. Ryan, Frederick M. Ivey, Monica C. Serra, Joseph Hartstein, Charlene E. Hafer-Macko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objectives To determine the prevalence of sarcopenia in stroke survivors using different methodologies, and compare a subset of the stroke group to age-, sex-, and body mass index (BMI)-matched nonstroke control counterparts. Design Cohort study. Setting A Veterans Affairs medical center and a university hospital. Participants Mild to moderately disabled participants >6 months after onset of stroke aged 40 to 84 years (N=190, 61% men, 57% African American; mean BMI ± SEM, 29±1kg/m2). Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans to assess appendicular lean mass (ALM). Rates of sarcopenia were determined using 4 established methods: (1) ALM/height2 (ALM/ht2); (2) European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older Persons; (3) International Working Group on Sarcopenia; and (4) ALM/BMI. Results Sarcopenia prevalence in our stroke cohort ranged between 14% and 18%. The stroke survivor subset (n=38) matched one-for-one with control counterparts for race, sex, age ±4 years and BMI ±2.5kg/m2 had higher prevalence rates compared with their nonstroke counterparts (13.2% vs 5.3%, P<.0001). ALM/ht2 was related to 6-minute walking speed (r=.28, P<.01) and peak oxygen consumption (L/min: r=.58, P<.0001) for the stroke group. Conclusions Stroke survivors show an elevated prevalence of sarcopenia when considering age, sex, and race compared with nonstroke individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-499
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Muscles
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sarcopenia
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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