Leg lean mass correlates with exercise systemic output in young Fontan patients

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ObjectiveWe previously described lower leg lean mass Z-scores (LLMZ) in Fontan patients associated with worse peak oxygen consumption on metabolic exercise testing. We hypothesised that LLMZ correlates with indexed systemic flow (Qsi) and cardiac index (CI) on exercise cardiac magnetic resonance (eCMR).MethodsThirteen patients had LLM measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry within mean 40 (range 0–258) days of eCMR. LLM was converted to sex and race-specific Z-scores based on healthy reference data. Ventricular volumes and flow measurements of the ascending and descending (DAO) aorta and superior vena cava (SVC) were obtained by CMR at rest and just after supine ergometer exercise to a heart rate associated with anaerobic threshold on prior exercise test. Baseline and peak exercise measures of Qsi (SVC+DAO/BSA) and CI, as well as change in Qsi and CI with exercise, were compared with LLMZ by linear regression.ResultsLLMZ was not correlated with resting flows, stroke volume or CI. There was a strong linear correlation between LLMZ and change in both CI (r=0.77, p=0.002) and Qsi (r=0.73, p=0.005) from rest to exercise. There was also a significant correlation between LLMZ and Qsi at exercise (r=0.70, p=0.008). The correlation between LLMZ and CI at exercise did not reach significance (r=0.3, p=0.07).ConclusionsIn our cohort, there was a strong linear correlation between LLMZ and change in both CI and Qsi from rest to exercise, suggesting that Fontan patients with higher LLMZ may be better able to augment systemic output during exercise, improving performance.

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