Purpose: Quantitative and qualitative changes of skeletal muscle are typical and early findings in trauma patients, being possibly associated with functional impairment. Early assessment of muscle changes—as evaluated by muscle ultrasonography—could yield important information about patient’s outcome. Methods: In this prospective observational study, we used ultrasonography to evaluate the morphological changes of rectus femoris (RF) and anterior tibialis (AT) muscles in a group of young, previously healthy trauma patients on enteral feeding. Results: We studied 38 severely injured patients (median Injury Severity Score = 34; median age = 40 y.o.) over the course of the ICU stay up to 3 weeks after trauma. We found a progressive loss of muscle mass from day 0 to day 20, that was more relevant for the RF (45%) than for the AT (22%); this was accompanied by an increase in echogenicity (up to 2.5 by the Heckmatt Scale, where normal echogenicity = 1), which is an indicator of myofibers depletion. Conclusions: Ultrasound evaluation of skeletal muscles is inexpensive, noninvasive, simple and easily repeatable. By this method, we were able to quantify the morphological changes of skeletal muscle in trauma patients. Further studies may rely on this technicque to evaluate the impact of different therapeutic strategies on muscle wasting.
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Enteral feeding
- Muscle mass
- Muscle ultrasonography