Insufficienza cardiaca congestizia: dal muscolo cardiaco al muscolo scheletrico.

Translated title of the contribution: Congestive heart failure: from cardiac muscle to skeletal muscle

R. Ferrari, P. Bernocchi, A. Boraso, O. Visioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well established that in patients with chronic heart failure, exercise capacity and clinical symptoms such as fatigue or dyspnea correlate poorly with the extent of left ventricular dysfunction. The increase in cardiac output caused by vasodilators, cannot be translated immediately into increased exercise capacity and peak oxygen consumption in patients with chronic heart failure. These observations have prompted the hypothesis that in chronic heart failure intrinsic abnormalities of skeletal muscle emerge that prevent acute improvement in peak VO2 and blood lactate accumulation. Studies using nuclear magnetic resonance demonstrate abnormal skeletal muscle metabolism during exercise, even in the absence of reduced flow or under ischaemic conditions. Histological examination of skeletal muscle reveals a variable extent of atrophy, increased interstitial cellularity and increase in type IIb fibres. Ultrastructural analysis shows abnormalities indicative of depressed oxidative capacity. Biochemical analysis of skeletal muscle biopsies demonstrates reduced activity of enzymes involved in aerobic metabolism and free fatty acid accumulation. These data indicate morphological, biochemical and metabolic alterations of skeletal muscle that should contribute significantly to the reduced muscle strength and rapid fatigue in patients with chronic heart failure. It has also been speculated that a generalized myopathy may occur in a subset of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. These findings have clinical implications. Prolonged immobilization of patients with chronic heart failure was often suggested, is not practised anymore. Physical training in chronic heart failure has been shown to improve skeletal muscle function, exercise capacity and clinical symptoms in small controlled trials. Pharmacological treatment might be targeted for skeletal muscle disorders in patients with heart failure.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Translated title of the contributionCongestive heart failure: from cardiac muscle to skeletal muscle
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
Issue number12 Suppl 1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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