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Reduced cardiac volumes in chronic fatigue syndrome associate with plasma volume but not length of disease: a cohort study

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Note: You can read the full study here.

By Julia L Newton et al.


Objectives: To explore potential mechanisms that underpin the cardiac abnormalities seen in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) using non-invasive cardiac impedance, red cell mass and plasma volume measurements.

Methods: Cardiac MR (MR) examinations were performed using 3?T Philips Intera Achieva scanner (Best, NL) in participants with CFS (Fukuda; n=47) and matched case-by-case controls. Total volume (TV), red cell volume (RCV) and plasma volume (PV) measurements were performed (41 CFS and 10 controls) using the indicator dilution technique using simultaneous 51-chromium labelling of red blood cells and 125-iodine labelling of serum albumin.

Results: The CFS group length of history (mean±SD) was 14±10?years. Patients with CFS had significantly reduced end-systolic and end-diastolic volumes together with reduced end-diastolic wall masses (all p<0.0001). Mean±SD RCV was 1565±443?mL with 26/41 (63%) having values below 95% of expected. PV was 2659±529?mL with 13/41 (32%) <95% expected. There were strong positive correlations between TV, RCV and PV and cardiac end-diastolic wall mass (all p<0.0001; r2=0.5). Increasing fatigue severity correlated negatively with lower PV (p=0.04; r2=0.2). There were no relationships between any MR or volume measurements and length of history, suggesting that deconditioning was unlikely to be the cause of these abnormalities.

Conclusions: This study confirms an association between reduced cardiac volumes and blood volume in CFS. Lack of relationship between length of disease, cardiac and plasma volumes suggests findings are not secondary to deconditioning. The relationship between plasma volume and severity of fatigue symptoms suggests a potential therapeutic target in CFS.

Source: Julia L Newton, Andreas Finkelmeyer, George Petrides, James Frith, Tim Hodgson, Laura Maclachlan, Guy MacGowan, and Andrew M Blamire. Reduced cardiac volumes in chronic fatigue syndrome associate with plasma volume but not length of disease: a cohort study. Open Heart 2016;3: doi:10.1136/openhrt-2015-000381

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