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Ann Pediatr Cardiol. 2010 Jul;3(2):113-8. doi: 10.4103/0974-2069.74036.

Myocardial dysfunction in malnourished children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Egypt.



Malnourished children suffer several alterations in body composition that could produce cardiac abnormalities.


The aim of the present study was to detect the frequency of myocardial damage in malnourished children as shown by echocardiography and cardiac troponin T (cTnT) level.


Forty-five malnourished infants and young children (mean±SD of age was 11.24 ±7.88 months) were matched with 25 apparently healthy controls (mean±SD of age was 10.78±6.29 months). Blood sample was taken for complete blood picture, liver and kidney function tests, serum sodium, potassium, calcium levels and cTnT. All the malnourished children were subjected to echocardiographic evaluation.


Malnourished children showed a significantly lower left ventricular (LV) mass than the control group. The LV systolic functions were significantly impaired in patients with severe malnutrition. The cTnT level was higher than the upper reference limits in 11 (24.44%) of the studied malnourished children and all of them had a severe degree of malnutrition. The cTnT level was significantly higher in patients with anemia, sepsis and electrolyte abnormalities and it correlated negatively with LV ejection fraction (EF). Six of the studied children with high cTnT levels (54.5%) died within 21 days of treatment while only one case (2.9%) with normal level of cTnT died within the same period.


LV mass is reduced in malnourished children. Children with severe malnutrition have a significant decrease in LV systolic functions. Elevated cTnT levels in malnourished children has both diagnostic and prognostic significance for cardiomyocyte damage.


cTnT; echocardiography; protein energy malnutrition

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