Review of Sarcopenia and Testosterone Deficiency With Chronic Liver Disease and Postoperative Liver Transplant Utility of Short-Term Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Ashokkumar Jain, Danielle Haussner, Tjasa Hranjec, Fauzia Butt, Jonathan G. Stine, Anita Ankola, Hussain Al Yousif, Russell Dicristina, Karen L. Krok, Juan Arenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Chronic liver disease is often associated with testosterone deficiency. However, testosterone replacement does not improve hepatic function or survival with diseased liver. So far, to our knowledge, testosterone replacement therapy after successful liver transplant for functional sarcopenia has not been studied. We had 3 goals: (1) define postoperative functional sarcopenia after liver transplant with serum testosterone level; (2) examine the role of short-term testosterone replacement therapy with active in-bed exercise of upper and lower extremity joints; and (3) correlate functional sarcopenia with skeletal muscle index and skeletal muscle density in relation to ascites, pleural effusion subtracted body mass index. Materials and Methods: We evaluated 16 liver transplant recipients who had been receiving posttransplant testosterone replacement therapy with functional sarcopenia. Preoperative and postoperative demographics and laboratory and radiological data were retrieved; body mass index, skeletal muscle index, and skeletal muscle density were calculated. For this retrospective study, institutional review board approval was obtained before the electronic database was reviewed and analyzed. Results: Mean testosterone level was 28.3 ng/dL (<5% of expected). Twelve patients received 1 dose, and the remaining 4 patients received >1 dose of testosterone cypionate, 200 mg. Mean hospital stay was 26 days. Seven patients were discharged home, with the remaining patients to a rehabilitation facility or nursing home. One patient died from a cardiac event, and another patient died from recurrent metastatic malignancy. The 1-year and 5-year actuarial patient and graft survival rates were 93.8% and 87.5%, respectively. Overall, 5 patients were sarcopenic by skeletal muscle index, and 6 patients had poor muscle quality by skeletal muscle density. Conclusions: Testosterone deficiency after liver transplant exists with functional sarcopenia. Two-thirds of such recipients have low skeletal muscle index and/or have low skeletal muscle density. Short-term testosterone replacement therapy with in-bed active exercise provides 5-year patient and graft survival of 87.5%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1000-1008
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental and Clinical Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Ascites
  • Body mass index
  • Cirrhosis
  • Density
  • Hydrothorax
  • Skeletal muscle index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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