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Metabolism. 1996 Aug;45(8 Suppl 1):57-60.

Cardiovascular aspects in acromegaly: effects of treatment.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology and Oncology, Federico II, University, Naples, Italy.


Patients with acromegaly have significant morbidity and mortality, associated with cardiovascular disease. Acromegaly is often complicated by other diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and coronary artery disease, so the existence of acromegalic cardiomyopathy remains uncertain. Cardiac performance was investigated in patients with uncomplicated acromegaly. A subgroup of hypertensive acromegalics was also studied. In addition, the effects of chronic octreotide therapy or surgery on cardiac structure and function in acromegaly were studied. Twenty-six patients and 15 healthy controls underwent gated blood-pool cardiac scintigraphy and echocardiography at rest and during exercise. Echocardiography was repeated after 6 months of octreotide therapy (n = 11). Cardiac scintigraphy was repeated after 12 and 24 months of octreotide therapy (n = 10) or 12 to 24 months after surgery (n = 8). ECG, blood pressure, and heart rate were monitored during cardiac scintigraphy. Left ventricular mass (LVM) was calculated from the findings of the echocardiography. Serum growth hormone (GH) levels and plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels were monitored. LVM index was significantly higher (P < .003) in acromegalics than controls and in hypertensive acromegalics than normotensives, but all other indices of cardiac function were similar. Chronic octreotide decreased GH and IGF-1 levels and improved the structural abnormalities as measured by echocardiography. Chronic octreotide or surgery did not alter cardiac function parameters. Thus, important changes in cardiac structure and function occur in uncomplicated acromegaly, and improvements can be demonstrated after chronic octreotide therapy. Heart disease in acromegaly appears to be secondary to high circulating GH levels.

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