Complex congenital heart disease compromises body composition
Adults with complex congenital heart disease (CHD) have lower skeletal muscle mass and are more likely to have sarcopoenia, a recent study has found.
Seventy-three complex CHD patients (mean age, 35.8±14.3 years; 22 females) underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for the measurement of body composition. Those with low skeletal muscle mass in relation to height and weight were identified as sarcopoenic. Seventy-three age- and sex-matched controls were also included.
In the overall sample, complex CHD patients were significantly shorter than their control counterparts (173.2±9.7 vs 176.6±9.2 cm; p=0.029), while also having lower total lean mass (48.3±8.7 vs 53.3±9.6 kg; p=0.001), appendicular lean mass (21.69±4.70 vs 24.95±5.28; p<0.001), and isometric strength of the biceps (p=0.004), quadriceps (p=0.002) and unilateral grip (p=0.002).
Relative tissue fat mass, on the other hand, was significantly elevated in those with complex CHD (31.8±9.3 vs 27.4±8.7 percent; p=0.003).
Analysis according to sex showed that the effect of complex CHD was stronger in females, where almost all anthropometric, DXA and isometric strength domains were significantly worse in patients than in controls. The only exceptions were weight and hip circumference. Male patients were shorter and lighter than controls, and had worse DXA results and isometric strength.
Despite these findings, researchers noted that the both the muscle and fat differences between patients and controls could be made up for by behavioural changes. “Perhaps the next step toward a longer and healthier life for adults with congenital heart disease lies in a more structured follow-up programme promoting individualized training regimen and a healthy diet.”