Background: In the elderly, diagnostic findings of pneumonia are often atypical. Computed tomography was recommended for the diagnosis of pneumonia in elderly patients. Recently, the usage of computed tomography as a screening tool for pneumonia in emergency departments has increased. Sarcopenia is defined as the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength with aging. In this study, the association between sarcopenia and prognosis measured through computed tomography was evaluated compared to CURB-65. Methods: This study was conducted on patients diagnosed with pneumonia through computed tomography from 1 March 2018 to 31 March 2020. The paraspinous muscle size and attenuation were measured at a level located at the T12 pedicle level on axial computed tomography images. Paraspinous muscle size was presented as paraspinous muscle index. Differences in the prognostic performance among the paraspinous muscle size and attenuation, and CURB-65 were evaluated by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. Results: A total of 509 patients were included and 132 patients (25.9%) were admitted to the ICU, and 58 patients (11.4%) died in hospital. Paraspinous muscle index was the significant factor for predicting in-hospital mortality and ICU admission. The area under the receiver operating characteristic value of paraspinous muscle index for prediction of mortality was 0.738 and CURB-65 was 0.707. The area under the receiver operating characteristic of paraspinous muscle index and CURB-65 for predicting ICU admission were 0.766 and 0.704, respectively. Conclusion: As a method of measuring sarcopenia, paraspinous muscle index was superior to CURB-65 in elderly pneumonia patients. The use of computed tomography in predicting prognosis for elderly pneumonia patients will ease the economic burden.
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- emergency departments
- frail elderly