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Nutr Rev. 1994 Oct;52(10):340-7.

The nutrition implications of cardiac cachexia.

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  • 1USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA.


Weight loss is a frequent sequela in patients with congestive heart failure and is commonly referred to as cardiac cachexia. This weight loss is unlike that seen in simple starvation because it preferentially involves the depletion of lean body mass. In addition, the presence of cardiac cachexia can have profound clinical implications for patients in terms of complications, clinical outcome, and overall cost. The mechanism for the alterations in body composition is multifactorial, but a major cause may be the cytokine-mediated host response to the underlying disease. This article reviews the syndrome of cardiac cachexia in light of recent evidence regarding the role of cytokines, as well as potential therapies.

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