The SARC-F Questionnaire: Diagnostic Overlap with Established Sarcopenia Definitions in Older German Men with Sarcopenia.


BACKGROUND The high relevance of sarcopenia for the aging societies of most developed nations is emphasized by its recent inclusion in the ICD-10-CM (M62.84). However, diagnosing sarcopenia is a daunting task. Apart from varying definitions, the proper assessment of recognized sarcopenia criteria is time and cost consuming. A short and inexpensive screening tool may thus be welcome for clinicians and others working in the area of gerontology. Recently, a simple questionnaire was provided (SARC-F) that may adequately realize this aim. OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study is to compare established sarcopenia definitions (European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People [EWGSOP], Foundation National Institute of Health [FNIH], International Working Group on Sarcopenia [IWGS]) with the SARC-F. Our hypothesis was that the diagnostic overlap between the SARC-F and sarcopenia as determined by these recognized definitions was too low to reliably diagnose sarcopenia. METHODS Seventy-four community-dwelling German men aged 70 years and older with established sarcopenia according to EWGSOP and/or FNIH and/or IWGS were screened with the SARC-F questionnaire. RESULTS Applying the definitions of EWGSOP, IWGS, and FNIH, 66.2, 43.2, and 50% of the cohort were classified sarcopenic, respectively. The SARC-F identified 33.5% of the cohort as sarcopenic. The predictive power of the SARC-F increased when men were classified as sarcopenic according to 2 (57.1%) or all (78.8%) sarcopenia definitions. The diagnostic overlap with the 3 sarcopenia definitions varied between 38.8% (SARC-F-FNIH) and 54.1% (SARC-F-IWGS). In comparison, the overlap of diagnosed sarcopenia ranged from 27.0% (FNIH-IWGS) to 49.0% (IWGS-EWGSOP) among the definitions themselves. Only 12.2% of the men met all 3 sarcopenia definitions. CONCLUSION The diagnostic overlap with respect to sensitivity of the SARC-F and present sarcopenia definitions was at least as high as the range of the diagnostic overlap of these approaches themselves. Thus, although the sensitivity of the SARC-F may be debatable, for want of a better option it seems reasonable to consider the SARC-F as a first simple step within a hierarchical screening procedure. Independently of this procedure, a universally accepted mandatory sarcopenia definition along with comprehensive criteria and fixed cutoff points should be provided promptly.

DOI: 10.1159/000477935

Cite this paper

@article{Kemmler2017TheSQ, title={The SARC-F Questionnaire: Diagnostic Overlap with Established Sarcopenia Definitions in Older German Men with Sarcopenia.}, author={Wolfgang Kemmler and Cornel Christian Sieber and Ellen Freiberger and Simon von Stengel}, journal={Gerontology}, year={2017}, volume={63 5}, pages={411-416} }