Introduction: The link between skeletal muscle and heart disease is intriguing. In sarcopenic states such as those associated with chronological ageing, it is unknown if the link between skeletal muscle mass (SMM) and heart function is still present.
Methods: A community-based cohort of participants without heart disease, stroke or cancer were studied. We included participants who had sarcopenia (defined by European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (appendicular lean mass, ALM/height2). Participants underwent detailed body composition analyser that measures SMM in sites such as trunk, upper limb and lower limb. They underwent tissue Doppler echocardiography for assessment of diastolic function. Associations between SMM and myocardial function were studied in adjusted models.
Results: We studied 195 eligible participants (mean age 73±4 years; 83 (43%) females; 98 (50%) had hypertension, 97 (50%) had dyslipidemia, 45 (23%) had diabetes mellitus, 50 (26%) ever-smoked. We observed significant univariate associations between indexed left ventricular (LV) mass with whole body SMM (β=1.82, p=0.000025), upper limb SMM (β=13.15, p=0.0002), lower limb SMM (β=4.67, p=0.0004) and truncal SMM (β=2.19, p=0.0001). Significant univariate associations were also observed between septal peak diastolic mitral annular velocity with whole body SMM (β=0.001, p=0.002), upper limb SMM (β=0.008, p=0.009), lower limb SMM (β=0.003, p=0.002) and truncal SMM (β=0.001, p=0.008). Adjusting for female gender and body mass index in a multivariable model, whole body SMM (β=1.57, p=0.035) and upper limb SMM (β=12.85, p=0.039) remained independently associated with indexed LV mass. Adjusting for female gender, systolic blood pressure and pulse in a multivariable model, whole body SMM (β=0.0015, p=0.012) and lower limb SMM (β=0042, p=0.022) remained independently associated with septal peak diastolic mitral annular velocity
Conclusions: In this elderly cohort with sarcopenia, we continue to see significant links between skeletal muscle mass and heart function (namely LV mass and diastolic function). These findings provide additional support for efforts that target skeletal muscle to effect corresponding gains in cardiovascular function with ageing.