Anabolic status and functional impairment in men with mild chronic heart failure.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to establish the role of hormonal anabolic deficiencies in exercise intolerance in patients with chronic heart failure One hundred four consecutive men (mean age 53.1 ± 10.6 years) with established diagnoses of chronic heart failure were included. At enrollment, blood samples were taken, and echocardiography and cardiopulmonary exercise testing were carried out. Exercise capacity was expressed as peak oxygen consumption (Vo₂), predicted peak Vo₂, and the ventilatory response to exercise (VE/Vco₂) slope. The mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 29.7 ± 11.9%, and most patients (86%) were in New York Heart Association class I or II, with a mean peak Vo₂ of 18 ml/min/kg. According to the age-adjusted reference values, hormonal deficiencies were present in 29% for total testosterone, 39% for estimated free testosterone, 34% for insulin-like growth factor-1, and 61% for dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate showed a significant correlation with peak Vo₂ (r = 0.29, p = 0.007), predicted peak Vo₂ (r = 0.28, p = 0.006), and VE/Vco₂ slope (r = -0.39, p <0.001), whereas total testosterone, estimated free testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 were not significantly correlated. After adjusting in a multivariable model, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate remained an independent predictor of each exercise parameter. In conclusion, in a cohort of patients with mild chronic heart failure, exercise capacity objectively measured using cardiopulmonary exercise testing was related to anabolic impairment of the adrenal rather than the somatotropic or peripheral axis.