The Complex Pathophysiology of Cardiac Cachexia: review of current pathophysiology and implications for clinical practice

Jenjiratchaya Thanapholsart*, Ehsan Khan, Tevfik Ismail, Geraldine Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Cardiac cachexia is a muscle wasting process that often develops in those with chronic heart failure resulting in weight loss, low levels of physical activity, reduced quality of life, and is associated with a poor prognosis. The pathology of cardiac cachexia is complex with new evidence emerging that implicates several body systems. This review describes the pathophysiology associated with cardiac cachexia and addresses: 1) hormonal changes- neurohormonal abnormalities and metabolic hormone imbalance; 2) mechanisms of muscle wasting in cardiac cachexia, and the integral mechanisms between changed hormones due to cardiac cachexia and muscle wasting processes, and 3) associated abnormalities of gastrointestinal system that contribute to cardiac cachexia. These pleiotropic mechanisms demonstrate the intricate interplay between the affected systems and account for why cardiac cachexia is difficult to manage clinically. This review summarises current pathophysiology of cardiac cachexia and highlights symptoms of cardiac cachexia, implications for clinical practice and research gaps.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-44
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • cardiac cachexia
  • heart failure
  • muscle wasting
  • weight loss
  • malnutrition

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