Muscle wasting in heart failure: An overview

Stephan Von Haehling, Lisa Steinbeck, Wolfram Doehner, Jochen Springer, Stefan D. Anker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with heart failure are frequently limited in their exercise capacity. Although this clinical phenomenon is mostly attributed to the failing myocardium, the effects of skeletal muscle wasting should not be underestimated. Muscle wasting may present in the form of loss of muscle mass and function, termed sarcopenia in healthy aging, or in the form of cachexia. Only cachexia is associated with loss of body weight. The mechanisms involved embrace an anabolic-/catabolic imbalance with increased degradation of myofibrils and myocyte apoptosis. Clinical effects include reduced muscle mass, strength and consequently reduced exercise capacity. This article describes the terminology, molecular pathways, prevalence, clinical implications and possible treatment approaches to muscle wasting in patients with heart failure. This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled: Molecular basis of muscle wasting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2257-2265
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cachexia
  • Heart failure
  • Mechanism
  • Muscle wasting
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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