Clinical relevance of cardiac structure and function abnormalities in patients with Cushing’s syndrome before and after cure

Authors: Toja, Paola M.1; Branzi, Giovanna2; Ciambellotti, Francesca2; Radaelli, Piero3; De Martin, Martina1; Lonati, Laura Maria2; Scacchi, Massimo; Parati, Gianfranco; Cavagnini, Francesco1; Giraldi, Francesca Pecori

Source: Clinical Endocrinology, Volume 76, Number 3, 1 March 2012 , pp. 332-338(7)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell



Objectives  Sustained hypercortisolism impacts cardiac function, and, indeed, cardiac disease is one of the major determinants of mortality in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical relevance of cardiac structure and function alterations by echocardiography in patients with active Cushing’s syndrome and after disease remission.

Study design  Seventy-one patients (61 women, 10 men) with Cushing’s syndrome and 70 age-, sex- and blood pressure-matched controls were enrolled. Echocardiography was performed in 49 patients with active disease and at several time points after remission in 44 patients (median follow-up 46·4 months), and prevalence of abnormal left ventricular mass measurements and systolic and diastolic functions indices was compared between patients with active disease, after remission and controls. Twenty-two patients were evaluated both before and after remission.

Results  Up to 70% of patients with active Cushing’s syndrome presented abnormal left ventricular mass parameters; 42% presented concentric hypertrophy and 23% concentric remodelling. Major indices of systolic and diastolic functions, i.e. ejection fraction and E/A ratio, respectively, were normal. Upon remission of hypercortisolism, left ventricular mass parameters ameliorated considerably, although abnormal values were still more frequent than in controls. Both cortisol excess and hypertension contribute to cardiac mass alterations and increase the prevalence of target organ damage.

Conclusions  Cushing’s syndrome is associated with an increased risk for abnormalities of cardiac mass, which ameliorates, but does not fully disappear after remission. Systolic and diastolic functions are largely within the normal range in these patients.


Document Type: Research article


Affiliations: 1: Ospedale San Luca, Neuroendocrinology Research Lab, Istituto Auxologico Italiano IRCCS 2: Department of Cardiology, Ospedale San Luca, Istituto Auxologico Italiano IRCCS 3: Department of Medical Sciences, University of Milan

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