Body Composition in Young Adults Living With a Fontan Circulation: The Myopenic Profile

Tran D, D’Ambrosio P, Verrall CE, Attard C, Briody J, D’Souza M, Fiatarone Singh M, Ayer J, d’Udekem Y, Twigg S, Davis GM, Celermajer DS, Cordina R.
J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Apr 21;9(8):e015639. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.015639. Epub 2020 Apr 15.
PMID: 32290749 Free Article
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Background We sought to characterize body composition abnormalities in young patients living with a Fontan circulation and explore potential pathophysiologic associations. Methods and Results Twenty-eight patients with a Fontan circulation were prospectively recruited in this cross-sectional study. Participants underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, echocardiography, and biochemical assessment. Mean age was 26±7 years. Skeletal muscle mass, estimated by appendicular lean mass index Z score, was reduced compared with reference data (-1.49±1.10, P<0.001). Percentage body fat Z score overall was within normal range (0.23±1.26, P=0.35), although 46% had elevated adiposity. Those with reduced skeletal muscle mass (appendicular lean mass index Z score of -1 or lower) had lower percent predicted oxygen pulse (55±15 versus 76±16%, P=0.002). Overall agreement between body mass index and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to assess adiposity was fair only (weighted [linear] κ coefficient: 0.53; 95% CI, 0.34-0.73) and slight in the setting of muscle mass deficiency (weighted κ coefficient: 0.32; 95% CI, 0.13-0.50). Appendicular lean mass was independently associated with absolute peak VO2 (β=70.6 mL/min, P=0.001). Appendicular lean mass index Z score was inversely associated with hemoglobin (r=-0.4, P=0.04), and the degree of muscle deficit was associated with ventricular systolic impairment. Conclusions Young patients with a Fontan circulation have a body composition characterized by reduced skeletal muscle mass, which is associated with peak exercise capacity. Increased adiposity is common despite a normal body mass index. Low skeletal muscle mass is associated with systolic dysfunction and compensatory erythrocytosis.