Cachexia: Common, Deadly, With an Urgent Need for Precise Definition and New Therapies

Mitja Lainscak, Gerasimos S. Filippatos, Mihai Gheorghiade, Gregg C. Fonarow, Stefan D. Anker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cachexia-sometimes also referred to as wasting disease, malnutrition, or hypercatabolism-has been described for centuries and has always raised ominous thoughts that "the end is near." The disease is encountered in many malignant and nonmalignant chronic, ultimately fatal, illnesses. Yet, although cachexia is a deadly syndrome, little is known about its pathophysiology, and the debate regarding its definition is ongoing. Thus, the data on epidemiology can be contested, but a few things are certain: Cachexia is associated with exceedingly high mortality once the syndrome has fully developed, irrespective of the definition we apply, and it is associated with weakness, weight loss, muscle wasting, and inflammation. It is not simply an ancillary event, and it may contribute to the death of the patient either through effects on neuroendocrine and immune defense mechanisms or through protein calorie malnutrition. The therapeutic standard of care for cachexia remains undefined to date, with a few exceptions. Among the recognized approaches, exogenous oral amino acid supplementation appears very promising. Further research efforts are needed and they are ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Volume101
Issue number11 SUPPL.
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2008

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Cachexia
Wasting Syndrome
Protein-Energy Malnutrition
Therapeutics
Standard of Care
Malnutrition
Weight Loss
Epidemiology
Inflammation
Amino Acids
Muscles
Mortality
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

Cachexia : Common, Deadly, With an Urgent Need for Precise Definition and New Therapies. / Lainscak, Mitja; Filippatos, Gerasimos S.; Gheorghiade, Mihai; Fonarow, Gregg C.; Anker, Stefan D.

In: The American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 101, No. 11 SUPPL., 02.06.2008.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lainscak, Mitja ; Filippatos, Gerasimos S. ; Gheorghiade, Mihai ; Fonarow, Gregg C. ; Anker, Stefan D. / Cachexia : Common, Deadly, With an Urgent Need for Precise Definition and New Therapies. In: The American Journal of Cardiology. 2008 ; Vol. 101, No. 11 SUPPL.
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