The cardiac component of cardiac cachexia

Viorel G. Florea, Michael Y. Henein, Mathias Rauchhaus, Veronika Koloczek, Rakesh Sharma, Wolfram Doehner, Philip A. Poole-Wilson, Andrew J.S. Coats, Stefan D. Anker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: Recent evidence suggests the importance of noncardiac mechanisms in the genesis of the syndrome of cardiac cachexia. This raises the question of the relative role of the heart itself in this syndrome. This study sought to assess the cardiac dimensions, mass, and function and changes in these parameters over time in patients with chronic heart failure with and without cachexia. Methods: Doppler echocardiography was performed in 28 patients with nonedematous weight loss (>7.5% over a period of >6 months) compared with 56 matched patients without weight loss in a ratio of 1:2 (age 71 ± 13 vs 67 ± 8 years, P = .07; New York Heart Association class 2.9 ± 0.7 vs 2.6 ± 0.6, P = .08). In 18 cachectic and 35 noncachectic patients with previous echocardiographic recordings, we analyzed the changes in left ventricular (LV) dimensions and mass over time. Results: Cardiac dimensions including LV diastolic (69 ± 9 mm vs 67 ± 13 mm) and systolic cavity diameter (58 ± 11 mm vs 55 ± 15 mm), LV mass (480 ± 180 g vs 495 ± 190 g), and LV systolic and diastolic function including fractional shortening (16% ± 10% vs 18% ± 10%), isovolumic relaxation time (29 ± 22 ms vs 36 ± 27 ms), and E/A ratio (2.7 ± 1.6 vs 3.3 ± 2.9) did not differ between cachectic and noncachectic patients (all P > . 1). By analyzing changes in LV mass over time, we found an increase (>20%) in 2 (11%) cachectic and 14 (40%) noncachectic patients and a decrease in LV mass (>20%) in 9 (50%) cachectic and 8 (23%) noncachectic patients (x2 test, P < .05). Conclusions: Although no specific cardiac abnormality could be detected echocardiographically in cachectic patients compared with patients with noncachectic chronic heart failure in a cross-sectional study, over time a significant loss of LV mass (>20%) occurs more frequently in patients with cardiac cachexia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by a research fellowship from the European Society of Cardiology, the “Deutsche Herzstiftung,” Frankfurt, Germany, and a grant from the Max-Debrück-Centrum for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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