Submitted to: Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The bioelectrical impedance technique for measuring human body composition has gained considerable acceptance since its introduction in 1969 and resurgence in 1985. The National Institutes of Health convened a Technology Assessment Conference in 1994 that reviewed the theoretical basis of the method and summarized current applications in healthy people and individuals with altered body composition. In 1997, an expert panel of investigators summarized progress in the understanding and application of the bioelectrical impedance method. Two recent advances support the utility of bioelectrical impedance analysis to monitor changes in the distribution of fluids in patients with renal disease and to assess changes in body cell mass in patients with an increased breakdown of skeletal muscle in HIV infection and chronic kidney disease. These advances occurred because of the development of a new electrical model that is a sensitive and accurate predictor of body cell mass, a critical predictor of survival in seriously ill patients, and the use of multiple frequency impedance measurements. This progress in the development of new applications of the bioelectrical impedance analysis technique augments the clinical utility of this technology for assessment of body composition, evaluation of clinical outcome and appraisal of therapeutic interventions. This report supports the continued evaluation of bioelectrical impedance analysis in clinical research. This information will be useful to clinical researchers who seek a practical technique for assessment of body composition.
Technical Abstract: In 1994, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a Technology Assessment Conference "to provide physicians with a responsible assessment of bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) technology for body composition measurement." In 1997, Serono Symposia USA, Inc. invited a panel of research scientists and clinicians to provide an update on single and multifrequency BIA techniques and their application to clinical research since the NIH conference. Presentations at this one-day meeting addressed currently available BIA methods and models; clinical research experience with BIA; efforts toward establishing population reference norms; and the feasibility of establishing guidelines for diagnostic use of BIA in a clinical setting. Participants reached consensus on several technical and clinical issues related to the use of BIA in research and outpatient practice as well as promising applications in need of additional study.