Reduced hemodynamic load and cardiac hypotrophy in patients with anorexia nervosa

Carmela Romano, Marcello Chinali, Fabrizio Pasanisi, Rosanna Greco, Aldo Celentano, Alessandra Rocco, Vittorio Palmieri, Ada Signorini, Franco Contaldo, Giovanni De Simone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Anorexia nervosa is associated with lower left ventricular mass (LVM) and systolic dysfunction. Whether these abnormalities reflect chronic protein-energy malnutrition or are primarily related to lower cardiac workload is unclear. Objective: The objective of the study was to verify whether low LVM in anorexia nervosa is explained by low hemodynamic load. Design: Ninety-one women with anorexia nervosa [x±SD age: 20.5 ± 6.1 y; body mass index (in kg/m2): 15.6 ± 1.9; group 1] and 62 normal-weight female control subjects (age: 22.5 ± 5.5 y; body mass index: 20.9 ± 1.2; group 2) underwent Doppler echocardiography. LVM was evaluated as the percentage predicted by body height, sex, and stroke work (systolic blood pressure x stroke volume). Results: The left ventricular chamber dimension was smaller and the chamber walls were thinner in group 1 than in group 2, which resulted in significantly lower LVM and LVM indexes (P <0.0001). Ejection fraction, heart rate, stroke volume, and cardiac output were significantly (P <0.007) lower in group 1, but peripheral resistance was substantially higher (P <0.0001). The deviation of LVM from predicted values was lower and the proportion of subjects with inadequate LVM was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (P <0.0001). This difference was attenuated after adjustment for body weight and heart rate. There were no relations between LVM and laboratory tests in group 1. Conclusions: Anorexia nervosa is a condition of low hemodynamic load that leads to low LVM. Even with adjustment for stroke work, however, LVM is lower than would be predicted by height, because of the effect of body weight reduction (ie, wasting of lean body mass).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-312
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Cardiac load
  • Echocardiography
  • Inadequate left ventricular mass
  • Left ventricular hypotrophy
  • Systolic dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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