AI-based CT Body Composition Identifies Myosteatosis as Key Mortality Predictor in Asymptomatic Adults


Body composition data have been limited to adults with disease or older age. The prognostic impact in otherwise asymptomatic adults is unclear.


To use artificial intelligence–based body composition metrics from routine abdominal CT scans in asymptomatic adults to clarify the association between obesity, liver steatosis, myopenia, and myosteatosis and the risk of mortality.

Materials and Methods

In this retrospective single-center study, consecutive adult outpatients undergoing routine colorectal cancer screening from April 2004 to December 2016 were included. Using a U-Net algorithm, the following body composition metrics were extracted from low-dose, noncontrast, supine multidetector abdominal CT scans: total muscle area, muscle density, subcutaneous and visceral fat area, and volumetric liver density. Abnormal body composition was defined by the presence of liver steatosis, obesity, muscle fatty infiltration (myosteatosis), and/or low muscle mass (myopenia). The incidence of death and major adverse cardiovascular events were recorded during a median follow-up of 8.8 years. Multivariable analyses were performed accounting for age, sex, smoking status, myosteatosis, liver steatosis, myopenia, type 2 diabetes, obesity, visceral fat, and history of cardiovascular events.


Overall, 8982 consecutive outpatients (mean age, 57 years ± 8 [SD]; 5008 female, 3974 male) were included. Abnormal body composition was found in 86% (434 of 507) of patients who died during follow-up. Myosteatosis was found in 278 of 507 patients (55%) who died (15.5% absolute risk at 10 years). Myosteatosis, obesity, liver steatosis, and myopenia were associated with increased mortality risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 4.33 [95% CI: 3.63, 5.16], 1.27 [95% CI: 1.06, 1.53], 1.86 [95% CI: 1.56, 2.21], and 1.75 [95% CI: 1.43, 2.14], respectively). In 8303 patients (excluding 679 patients without complete data), after multivariable adjustment, myosteatosis remained associated with increased mortality risk (HR, 1.89 [95% CI: 1.52, 2.35]; P < .001).


Artificial intelligence–based profiling of body composition from routine abdominal CT scans identified myosteatosis as a key predictor of mortality risk in asymptomatic adults.