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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 168-177

Longitudinal study of body composition in spinal cord injury patients

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Paraplegia Rehabilitation, Rohtak, Haryana, India
2 Department of Anaesthesiology Critical Care, Pt. B. D. Sharma PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Roop Singh
52/9-J, Medical Enclave, PGIMS, Rohtak - 124 001, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.128760

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Background: Bone mass loss and muscle atrophy are the frequent complications occurring after spinal cord injury (SCI). The potential risks involved with these changes in the body composition have implications for the health of the SCI individual. Thus, there is a need to quantitate and monitor body composition changes accurately in an individual with SCI. Very few longitudinal studies have been reported in the literature to assess body composition and most include relatively small number of patients. The present prospective study aimed to evaluate the body composition changes longitudinally by DEXA in patients with acute SCI. Materials and Methods: Ninety five patients with acute SCI with neurological deficits were evaluated for bone mineral content (BMC), body composition [lean body mass (LBM) and fat mass] by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry during the first year of SCI. Results: There was a significant decrease in BMC ( P < 0.05) and LBM ( P < 0.05) and increase in total body fat mass (TBFM) and percentage fat at infra-lesional sites. The average decrease was 14.5% in BMC in lower extremities, 20.5% loss of LBM in legs and 15.1% loss of LBM in trunk, and increase of 0.2% in fat mass in legs and 17.3% increased fat in the lower limbs at 1 year. The tetraplegic patients had significant decrease in arm BMC ( P < 0.001), arm LBM ( P < 0.01) and fat percentage ( P < 0.01) compared to paraplegics. Patients with complete motor injury had higher values of TBFM and fat percentage, but comparable values of BMC and LBM to patients with incomplete motor injury. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there is a marked decrease in BMC and LBM with increase in adiposity during the first year of SCI. Although these changes depend on the level and initial severity of lesions, they are also influenced by the neurological recovery after SCI.

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