Effects of ghrelin on growth and cardiac function in infants with congenital heart disease

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Ghrelin has effects on appetite and growth. Recent reports suggest effects on cardiac function, but no study has evaluated the ghrelin levels of congenital heart disease (CHD) infants with heart failure. The purpose of the present study was therefore to investigate the relationship between ghrelin level and growth and cardiac function in CHD infants.


Twenty-eight infants with CHD were eligible for the study. Blood samples were obtained at the time of insertion of intracardiac catheter and correlation was examined between ghrelin plasma level and anthropometric parameters, including z score of height and weight, body mass index (BMI), and %bodyweight gain rate, severity of heart failure, and the levels of leptin and insulin-like growth factor-1.


In the CHD group, active ghrelin (A-Ghr) had a significant negative correlation with z score of bodyweight, and a significant positive correlation with cardiac function. There were no correlations, however, with height and BMI. A-Ghr levels were significantly higher in the high heart failure index score group. Significant correlation between A-Ghr and desacyl-ghrelin in the CHD group was observed.


A-Ghr is involved in cardiac function and has little effect on their physique in infants with CHD.

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