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Revista Española de Nutrición Humana y Dietética

On-line version ISSN 2174-5145Print version ISSN 2173-1292


MURESAN, Bianca Tabita et al. Computed tomography at C3 level and dynamometry as techniques for the diagnosis of sarcopenia in head and neck cancer patients. Rev Esp Nutr Hum Diet [online]. 2020, vol.24, n.2, pp.90-102.  Epub Jan 11, 2021. ISSN 2174-5145.


A pilot study that tied to diagnosis sarcopenia by computed tomography (CT) at the third cervical vertebra (C3) and dynamometry in head and neck cancer patients. Comparison of the muscle mass (MM) determined by CT, with classical anthropometric measure and dynamometry techniques.

Material and Methods:

MM and adipose tissue were analyzed by CT at C3 level in 37 oncological patients using Hounsfield Units (HU). Consequently, skeletal muscle index (SMI) and handgrip was determined for the diagnosis of sarcopenia. Finally, SMI was compared by classical anthropometric techniques, as well as by dynamometry.


59.46% of the sample presented a decreased SMI (cm2/m2), 64.86% dynapenia, 54.05% sarcopenia, and 32.43% sarcopenic obesity. On the other hand, mean intermuscular adipose tissue was 6.69 (3.8) cm2, and mean intramuscular adipose tissue 2.06 (1.11) cm2. In addition, a statistically significant association was found between SMI and strength in strong hand (estimate=0.412; 95%CI [0.219, 0.605]; p-value<0.001) and in the weak hand (estimate=0.289; 95%CI [0.123, 0.454]; p-value<0.001). Regarding the branchial muscle circumference, we did not reach to demonstrate a positive correlation.


Our study indicates that in head and neck cancer patients there is a high prevalence of sarcopenia. In addition, muscle depletion assessed by CT scans and dynamometry have demonstrate positive correlation, and consequently, those patients with greater muscle depletion at the C3 level have less muscle functionality.

Keywords : Tomography; Cervical Vertebrae; Neck Muscles; Muscle Strength; Muscle Strength Dynamometer; Sarcopenia; Head and Neck Neoplasms.

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