Abstract 1124: Greater Brain Hippocampal Volume Loss in Female Over Male Heart Failure Patients
Depression and short-term memory loss are common in heart failure (HF) and more frequently reported in females than in males. The hippocampus is a brain region which is closely linked to both depression and memory functions, but hippocampal damage which may contribute to such neuropsychological deficits in HF have not been evaluated.
METHODS: Using brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 17 HF (12 males, 5 females; age 54±8; LVEF 28%±7) and 34 age- and gender-matched controls (24 males; 10 females; age 52±8) were studied. Two high-resolution T1-weighed MRI scans per subject were averaged, re-oriented to common space, and re-sampled. Left and right hippocampi were manually traced from coronal and sagittal views by a researcher blinded to subject group. Hippocampal volumes were standardized (affine) and compared between HF genders and controls using t-tests.
RESULTS: There were no significant differences in age between the groups. Male HF hippocampal volumes (left: 2593±535 mm3; right: 2637±503 mm3) did not differ from male controls (left: 2627±431 mm3; right: 2758±432 mm3). Female HF subjects had smaller hippocampi (left: 2165±331 mm3; right: 2083±368 mm3) than female controls (left: 2878±707 mm3; p=0.02; right: 2783±749 mm3; p=0.03; figure⇓). Female HF right hippocampi volumes were less than male HF (p=0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: Female HF patients show greater hippocampal volume loss in comparison to both female controls and male HF subjects. The greater volume loss in female HF may underlie gender differences in depression and memory loss in HF. However, further studies of brain structure and neuropsychological measures are needed to support this hypothesis.