Researchers have found that fat-free mass index, but not body mass index, was a significant predictor of survival in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a debilitating form of pneumonia. Unlike body mass index, fat-free mass index takes into account the amount of muscle mass a person is carrying.
In 44 patients with IPF, fat-free mass index was assessed with a bioelectric impedance analyser. Over an average follow-up of 2.3 years, lower fat-free mass index was linked with worse survival.
"Taking account of not only lung function but also fat-free mass was revealed to be important in IPF practice. Methods for increasing or preserving muscle mass in IPF patients should be further investigated," said Dr. Osamu Nishiyama, lead author of the Respirology study.