Sarcopenia is associated with longer hospital stay and multiorgan dysfunction in alcoholic hepatitis

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Department of Radiology; Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Digestive System Diseases | Gastroenterology | Hepatology


INTRODUCTION: Excessive alcohol consumption has steadily risen to become the third leading cause of preventable death in the USA. One consequence of heavy alcohol use recently under considerable investigation is alcoholic hepatitis. Although many risk factors for developing alcoholic hepatitis have been documented, our aim in this study was to examine the potential association between sarcopenia and severity, mortality, 30 days readmission rate, complication, infections and length of hospital stay in alcoholic hepatitis patients.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed at a large, academic hospital in 194 alcoholic hepatitis patients aged 18-60 who had cross-sectional computed tomography imaging and met our clinical definition of alcoholic hepatitis. The fifth percentile of the psoas muscle index was used as a cutoff for sarcopenia.

RESULTS: One hundred ninety-four patients met the criteria for alcoholic hepatitis and had cross-sectional imaging. Higher Model for End-Stage Liver disease score was found in the sarcopenia group when compared to the non-sarcopenia group (mean Model for End-Stage Liver disease 21.5 and 24.2, respectively, P = 0.03). Sarcopenia also correlated with significantly longer hospital stay; the average length of stay in the sarcopenia group was 17.2 days while the non-sarcopenia patients had an average of 12.4 days. We found higher risk of developing pneumonia, sepsis and hepatic encephalopathy in sarcopenic patients.

CONCLUSION: Alcoholic hepatitis patients with sarcopenia have significantly worse outcomes when compared with the patients without sarcopenia, including a severe form of alcoholic hepatitis, longer hospital stays, higher risk of developing pneumonia, sepsis and hepatic encephalopathy.

DOI of Published Version



Al-Azzawi Y, Albo B, Fasullo M, Coukos J, Watts GJ, Tai R, Radcliffe D, Kroll-Desrosiers A, Devuni D, Szabo G. Sarcopenia is associated with longer hospital stay and multiorgan dysfunction in alcoholic hepatitis. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Jun;32(6):733-738. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000001583. PMID: 31834050; PMCID: PMC7196001. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

European journal of gastroenterology and hepatology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID