The study examined whether deficits in cardiac output and blood volume in a CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) cohort were present and linked to illness severity and sedentary lifestyle. Follow-up analyses assessed whether differences in cardiac output levels between CFS and control groups were corrected by controlling for cardiac contractility and TBV (total blood volume). The 146 participants were subdivided into two CFS groups based on symptom severity data, severe (n=30) and non-severe (n=26), and two healthy non-CFS control groups based on physical activity, sedentary (n=58) and non-sedentary (n=32). Controls were matched to CFS participants using age, gender, ethnicity and body mass. Echocardiographic measures indicated that the severe CFS participants had 10.2% lower cardiac volume (i.e. stroke index and end-diastolic volume) and 25.1% lower contractility (velocity of circumferential shortening corrected by heart rate) than the control groups. Dual tag blood volume assessments indicated that the CFS groups had lower TBV, PV (plasma volume) and RBCV (red blood cell volume) than control groups. Of the CFS subjects with a TBV deficit (i.e. ≥8% below ideal levels), the mean±S.D. percentage deficit in TBV, PV and RBCV were −15.4±4.0, −13.2±5.0 and −19.1±6.3% respectively. Lower cardiac volume levels in CFS were substantially corrected by controlling for prevailing TBV deficits, but were not affected by controlling for cardiac contractility levels. Analyses indicated that the TBV deficit explained 91–94% of the group differences in cardiac volume indices. Group differences in cardiac structure were offsetting and, hence, no differences emerged for left ventricular mass index. Therefore the findings indicate that lower cardiac volume levels, displayed primarily by subjects with severe CFS, were not linked to diminished cardiac contractility levels, but were probably a consequence of a co-morbid hypovolaemic condition. Further study is needed to address the extent to which the cardiac and blood volume alterations in CFS have physiological and clinical significance.
Chronic fatigue syndrome: illness severity, sedentary lifestyle, blood volume and evidence of diminished cardiac function
Barry E. Hurwitz, Virginia T. Coryell, Meela Parker, Pedro Martin, Arthur LaPerriere, Nancy G. Klimas, George N. Sfakianakis, Martin S. Bilsker; Chronic fatigue syndrome: illness severity, sedentary lifestyle, blood volume and evidence of diminished cardiac function. Clin Sci (Lond) 15 January 2010; 118 (2): 125–135. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/CS20090055
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