Low skeletal muscle mass is associated with low aerobic capacity and increased mortality risk in patients with coronary heart disease – a CARE CR study.

Nichols S; O’Doherty AF; Taylor C; Clark AL; Carroll S; Ingle L;

Clinical Physiology And Functional Imaging [Clin Physiol Funct Imaging] 2018 Aug 30. Date of Electronic Publication: 2018 Aug 30.

Background: In patients with chronic heart failure, there is a positive linear relationship between skeletal muscle mass (SMM) and peak oxygen consumption (V˙O2peak ); an independent predictor of all-cause mortality. We investigated the association between SMM and V˙O2peak in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) without a diagnosis of heart failure.
Methods: Male patients with CHD underwent maximal cardiopulmonary exercise testing and dual X-ray absorptiometry assessment. V˙O2peak, the ventilatory anaerobic threshold and peak oxygen pulse were calculated. SMM was expressed as appendicular lean mass (lean mass in both arms and legs) and reported as skeletal muscle index (SMI; kg m-2 ), and as a proportion of total body mass (appendicular skeletal mass [ASM%]). Low SMM was defined as a SMI <7·26 kg m-2 , or ASM% <25·72%. Five-year all-cause mortality risk was calculated using the Calibre 5-year all-cause mortality risk score.
Results: Sixty patients were assessed. Thirteen (21·7%) had low SMM. SMI and ASM% correlated positively with V˙O2peak (r = 0·431 and 0·473, respectively; P<0·001 for both). SMI and ASM% predicted 16·3% and 12·9% of the variance in V˙O2peak , respectively. SMI correlated most closely with peak oxygen pulse (r = 0·58; P<0·001). SMI predicted 40·3% of peak V˙O2 /HR variance. ASM% was inversely associated with 5-year all-cause mortality risk (r = -0·365; P = 0·006).
Conclusion: Skeletal muscle mass was positively correlated with V˙O2peak in patients with CHD. Peak oxygen pulse had the strongest association with SMM. Low ASM% was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality. The effects of exercise and nutritional strategies aimed at improving SMM and function in CHD patients should be investigated.