Blood pressure-independent cardiac hypertrophy in acromegalic patients

Michele Ciulla, Maura Arosio, Maria Vittoria Barelli, Roberta Paliotti, Silvia Porretti, Patrizia Valentini, Giovanni Tortora, Valeria Buonamici, Andrea Moraschi, Vincenzo Cappiello, Fabio Magrini

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Objective. Acromegaly is frequently associated with an increase in left ventricular mass, even in the absence of systemic hypertension. Pathological studies on acromegalic hearts have shown an extensive interstitial fibrosis, suggesting the existence of a specific acromegalic cardiomyopathy. The aim of this study was to assess left ventricular wall structure in acromegaly by ultrasonic tissue characterization. Design and methods. We studied 10 untreated acromegalic patients and 10 age-matched healthy control subjects. The echo patterns of two-dimensional long-axis end-diastolic echocardiograms were assessed by colour-scale analysis of the interventricular septum, with estimates of the mean colour scale value, the broad band (Bb) and the derived collagen volume fraction (dCVF). We also measured electrocardiographic QT interval dispersion (QTd) as a marker of dyshomogeneous ventricular repolarization. Results. Seven patients had left ventricular hypertrophy according to the sex-independent criteria; of these, two had arterial hypertension. None of our patients had echocardiographic evidence of diastolic or systolic dysfunction. All patients showed significantly increased myocardial echoreflectivity (Bb =106.4 ± 12.1 versus 79.3 ± 6.5; dCVF% = 2.78 ± 0.53 versus 1.58 ± 0.29; P <0.0001) and QTd (66 ± 13 ms versus 54 ± 8 ms, P <0.05). A significant correlation was found between dCVF and the duration of acromegaly (r = 0.80; P = 0.005). Conclusions. Left ventricular remodelling observed in acromegaly is not related to the presence of arterial hypertension; we hypothesize that the increased echoreflectivity and QTd are long-term consequences of cardiac hypertrophy and prolonged exposure to high levels of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-I. (C) Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1965-1969
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number12 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Acromegaly
  • Growth hormone
  • Hypertension
  • Insulin-like growth factor-I
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy
  • Myocardial fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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