Metabolic and immunologic derangements in cardiac cachexia: Where to from here?

Sabine Strassburg, Stefan D. Anker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The onset of cardiac cachexia is characterized by a defined severe weight loss in patients with advanced chronic heart failure and it predicts an increased mortality in these patients. Recent studies with potential therapeutics investigated the effects and efficiency of beta-blockers, ghrelin, or ghrelin-agonists in cachexia. These and other new studies, like the influence of heart transplantation on cardiac cachexia, give prospect into potential therapeutic options in the future. General aim of the treatment strategy is to prevent the onset and retard the progress of cachexia. This could be achieved by modifying the metabolic, neurohormonal and immune system abnormalities, e.g. with beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. However, these alterations interact in a complex pathophysiological process, which is supposed to end in a vicious circle and thereby the wasting process is further promoted. To interrupt this, an early start of therapy is important to decelerate the development of cardiac cachexia. Many further investigations are needed to find out more about the pathophysiological pathways, to confirm the previous results, and to evaluate new therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Cardiac cachexia
  • Chronic heart failure (CHF)
  • Immune system
  • Metabolism
  • Neurohormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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