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Z Kardiol. 1998 Jun;87(6):425-35.

[Therapy of terminal dilated cardiomyopathy with growth hormone].

[Article in German]


The data from animal and human in-vivo studies suggest that cardiac function is dependent in part on the normal function of the GH/IGF-1 axis (growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1). The syndrome of heart failure appears to be associated with a perturbation of the GH/IGF-1 axis. So far encouraging results from phase II clinical trials evaluating the effects of long-term growth hormone treatment in patients with moderate to severe chronic congestive heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy have been published. In these studies growth hormone (i.e., DNA-derived recombinant human growth hormone) was not used alone but in addition to standard optimal therapy for chronic heart failure. The following rationale is the basis of this new approach for the treatment of chronic congestive heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy. According to Laplace's Law, cardiac wall stress(i.e., the force acting per unit of cross-sectional area of the ventricular wall) is directly related to intraventricular pressure and ventricular radius and inversely related to ventricular wall thickness. Cardiac (ventricular) wall stress if increased in dilated cardiomyopathy (mainly because of the dilatation of the ventricles and to a minor extent because of the relative reduction in ventricular thickness). Growth hormone seems to be capable of increasing ventricular wall thickness in dilated cardiomyopathy, thus, reducing cardiac wall stress which in turn leads to an improvement in systolic cardiac performance. Recombinant human growth hormone as a pharmacologic treatment is not only an expensive but also risky therapeutic modality (e.g., potential risk of inducing colonic carcinoma, de-novo leukemias, relapses of leukemias and central nervous system tumors). Given these prerequisites and a receptivity for cost effectiveness and risk-benefit analyses, it seems as if subcutaneous recombinant human growth hormone-as an additional therapeutic substance in conjunction with one of the widely accepted drugs for end-stage chronic congestive heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy-e.g., angiotensin converting-enzyme inhibitors, diuretics, nitrates, digoxin, and beta-adrenergic receptor blockers (Carvedilol) could either become a bridge to transplantation (i.e., supporting patients awaiting transplantation) or an alternative to the very expensive cardiac transplantation. There are three reasons for this hypothesis. First, the fact that end-state dilated cardiomyopathy along with ischemic heart disease are the main indications for heart transplantation in adults; second, the worldwide small supply of human donor organs for heart transplantation; and, third, the urgent need to find alternative cost-effective and risk-beneficial therapeutic modalities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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