Cardiac cachexia is associated with right ventricular failure and liver dysfunction

Miroslava Valentova, Stephan Von Haehling, Christian Krause, Nicole Ebner, Lisa Steinbeck, Larissa Cramer, Wolfram Doehner, Jan Murin, Stefan D. Anker, Anja Sandek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The mechanisms involved in cardiac cachexia remain poorly understood. We examined the association of right ventricular (RV) and hepatic dysfunction with cardiac cachexia. Methods We prospectively enrolled 118 patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤ 40%, which were subgrouped as follows: New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II (n = 59), NYHA class III without cachexia (n = 41) and NYHA class III with cachexia (n = 18). All patients underwent blood collection, echocardiography and exercise testing. Results Reduced systolic RV function (tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion [TAPSE] ≤ 15 mm), was present in 80% of cachectic patients. When comparing NYHA class II patients vs. non-cachectic and cachectic NYHA class III patients we found a stepwise decrease in systolic RV function (TAPSE 19 [16-23] vs. 16 [13-19] vs. 14 [9-15] mm, respectively; p <0.001) and an increase in right atrial pressure (RAP; > 10 mm Hg: 6.8 vs. 27.5 vs. 75.0%, respectively; p <0.001), indicating a higher degree of congestive right HF in cardiac cachexia. Systolic and diastolic function of the left ventricle did not differ between non-cachectic and cachectic patients in NYHA class III. Serum alkaline phosphatase and direct bilirubin correlated with TAPSE and RAP, and were highest in cachectic patients (all p ≤ 0.002), suggesting cholestatic dysfunction due to liver congestion. In multivariable regression analysis, RV dysfunction, cholestatic liver parameters and albumin were independently associated with the presence of cardiac cachexia. Conclusion Patients with cardiac cachexia display a more pronounced degree of right HF, cholestatic liver dysfunction and hypoalbuminemia compared to non-cachectic patients of similar LVEF and NYHA class.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 5 2013


  • Cardiac cachexia
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Liver function tests
  • Right heart function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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