Lower gastrocnemius muscle stiffness, derived from elastography, is an independent factor for falls in older adults

Baş H., OKYAR BAŞ A., CEYLAN S., Güner M., KOCA M., HAFIZOĞLU M., ...More

Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, vol.35, no.12, pp.2979-2986, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s40520-023-02605-6
  • Journal Name: Aging Clinical and Experimental Research
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Abstracts in Social Gerontology, AgeLine, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.2979-2986
  • Keywords: Muscle quality, Older adults, Sarcopenia, Shear-wave elastography, Ultrasonography
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background and aims: It is well known that components of sarcopenia (i.e., decreased muscle strength and mass) are related to falls in older adults. However, the possible effects of changes in muscle quality on falls have not been identified. This study aimed to evaluate the changes in muscle quality reflected by muscle stiffness derived from shear-wave elastography (SWE) and its association with falls in older adults. Methods: A total of 101 geriatric outpatients were included in the study. Assessments of physical performance, muscle strength (handgrip strength), muscle mass (muscle ultrasonography and bioelectrical impedance analysis), and muscle stiffness of the medial head of gastrocnemius (GCM) in relaxation and passive stretching were performed. The history of falls in the previous year was questioned and recorded. Results: The median (25–75 percentiles) age of participants was 73 (69–77) years, and 66.3% (n = 67) were female. According to fall history, participants were divided into non-fallers and fallers groups, and 72 (71.3%) and 29 (28.7%) participants were in each group, respectively. The median muscle stiffness of (Emean) the GCM in passive stretching was significantly lower in the fallers group (p < 0.001), and it was significantly correlated with the number of falls in the previous year (r: – 0.274, p: 0.010). In regression analyses, the Emean value of GCM in passive stretching was significantly associated with falls independent of confounders (OR: 0.944, 95% CI 0.90–0.98, p = 0.010). Discussion and conclusion: This is the first study to reveal the relationship between falls and SWE-defined lower GCM stiffness independently of muscle mass and strength.