Skeletal muscle metabolism in patients with congestive heart failure: relation to clinical severity and blood flow.
We and others have previously demonstrated excessive phosphocreatine (PCr) depletion and acidosis in skeletal muscle during exercise in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). In the present study, we performed serial measurements of PCr and pH during gradually incremental flexor digitorum superficialis exercise in 22 patients with CHF and 11 age-matched controls to determine: (1) whether abnormalities were present at the same relative workloads (a comparison that would at least partially compensate for differences in muscle mass), (2) the temporable course of the metabolic changes, (3) the relationship of the metabolic findings to clinical variables, and (4) the relationship of the metabolic abnormalities to forearm blood flow. The patients with CHF had significantly lower [PCr] and pH at all submaximal levels of exercise, and these abnormalities were apparent from the onset of low-level exercise. There was considerable heterogeneity among the patients with CHF with respect to the metabolic findings, with 14 of 22 exhibiting either PCr or pH values more than 2 SDs below normal. Patients whose capacity was more limited during the protocol had lower [PCr], and especially pH, at low loads than did other patients with CHF or the control subjects. The more symptomatic patients and those with more limited bicycle exercise tolerance also had lower pH values. In contrast, there were no significant differences in forearm blood flow between the patients and controls and no relationship between forearm blood and either clinical variables or the metabolic findings. These results indicate that skeletal muscle metabolic abnormalities are present in many patients with CHF and that they are not primarily due to either muscle atrophy or impaired blood flow. These changes may explain in part the marked heterogeneity of symptom status and exercise capacity of patients with similar degrees of cardiac dysfunction.
- Copyright © 1987 by American Heart Association