1. In adult humans with growth hormone deficiency, treatment with growth hormone has recently been shown to have major anabolic effects and to improve exercise performance. The cardiovascular effects of growth hormone in adults with growth hormone deficiency were examined in 24 patients treated with recombinant human growth hormone (0.07 units/kg at night) in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial lasting 6 months.
2. Compared with placebo, resting M-mode echocardiography showed increases in left ventricular end-diastolic dimension and stroke volume in the group treated with recombinant human growth hormone. No differences were noted between the groups with respect to left ventricular end-systolic dimension, fractional shortening, wall thicknesses or mean arterial blood pressure. Left ventricular myocardial mass increased in the group given recombinant human growth hormone.
3. The supine plasma renin activity was increased and remained elevated over the 6 months, whereas the plasma aldosterone concentration was unchanged, after treatment with recombinant human growth hormone. Clinical signs of sodium retention were evident during the first 3 months of treatment with recombinant human growth hormone.
4. We conclude that treatment with recombinant human growth hormone in adults with growth hormone deficiency resulted in small increases in left ventricular pre-load, due to the sodium-retaining action of growth hormone. Activation of the renin-aldosterone system was involved in such changes. Myocardial hypertrophy was observed without changes in mean arterial pressure, reflecting the anabolic action of growth hormone.