Aims To assess the prevalence and clinical impact of reductions in the skeletal muscle mass of patients with chronic heart failure (HF). Chronic HF is accompanied by co-morbidities that influence the quality of life and outcomes.Methods and resultsWe prospectively enrolled 200 patients with chronic HF. The appendicular skeletal muscle mass of the arms and the legs combined, was assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. We analysed the muscle strength in arms and legs, and all patients underwent a 6-min walk test, a 4-m walk test, and spiroergometry testing. Muscle wasting was defined as the appendicular muscle mass 2 SD below the mean of a healthy reference group of adults aged 18-40 years, as suggested for the diagnosis of muscle wasting in healthy ageing (sarcopenia). Muscle wasting was detected in 39 (19.5%) subjects. Patients with muscle wasting had significantly lower values for handgrip and quadriceps strength as well as lower total peak oxygen consumption (peakVO2, 1173 ± 433 vs. 1622 ± 456 mL/min), lower exercise time (7.7 ± 3.8 vs. 10.22 ± 3.0 min, both P <0.001), and lower left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF, P = 0.05) than patients without.The distance walked during 6 min and the gait speed during the 4-m walk were lower in patients with muscle wasting (both P <0.05). Serum levels of interleukin-6 were significantly elevated in patients with muscle wasting (P = 0.001). Logistic regression showed muscle wasting to be independently associated with reduced peak VO2 adjusted for age, sex, New York Heart Association class, haemoglobin, LVEF, distance walked in 6 minutes, and the number of co-morbidities (odds ratio 6.53, p = 0.01).ConclusionMuscle wasting is a frequent co-morbidity among patients with chronic HF. Patients with muscle wasting present with reduced exercise capacity and muscle strength, and advanced disease.
- Heart failure
- Muscle wasting
- Quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine