The association between preoperative body composition and aerobic fitness in patients scheduled for colorectal surgery

A.E.M. Berkel, L. van Wijk, D.P.J. van Dijk, S.N. Prins, J. Van der Palen, N.L.U. van Meeteren, S.W.M.O. Damink, J.M. Klaase, B.C. Bongers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim Although cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) is considered the gold standard, a preoperative abdominal CT scan might also provide information concerning preoperative aerobic fitness for risk assessment. This study aimed to investigate the association between preoperative CT-scan-derived body composition variables and preoperative CPET variables of aerobic fitness in colorectal surgery. Method In this retrospective cohort study, CT images at level L3 were analysed for skeletal muscle mass, skeletal muscle radiation attenuation, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) mass and subcutaneous adipose tissue mass. Regression analyses were performed to investigate the relation between CT-scan-derived body composition variables, CPET-derived aerobic fitness and other preoperative patient-related variables. Logistic regression analysis was performed to predict a preoperative anaerobic threshold (AT) <= 11.1 ml/kg/min as cut-off for having a high risk for postoperative complications. Results Data from 78 patients (45 men; mean [SD] age 74.5 [6.4 years]) were analysed. A correlation coefficient of 0.55 was observed between absolute AT and skeletal muscle mass index. Absolute AT (R-2 of 51.1%) was lower in patients with a lower skeletal muscle mass index, together with higher age, lower body mass and higher American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score. Higher ASA score (odds ratio 5.64; P = 0.033) and higher VAT mass (odds ratio 1.02; P = 0.036) were associated with an increased risk of an AT <= 11.1 ml/kg/min. Conclusion Body composition variables from the preoperative CT scan were moderately associated with preoperative CPET-derived aerobic fitness. Higher ASA score and higher VAT mass were associated with an increased risk of an AT <= 11.1 ml/kg/min.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number1
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • anaerobic threshold
  • cardiopulmonary exercise test
  • physical fitness
  • prehabilitation
  • preoperative risk assessment
  • skeletal muscle mass
  • RISK

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