, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 50–58 | Cite as

Improvement of cardiac parameters in patients with acromegaly treated with medical therapies

  • Annamaria ColaoEmail author


In acromegaly, growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) excess results in a specific cardiomyopathy characterized by concentric cardiac hypertrophy primarily associated with diastolic dysfunction that can lead to impaired systolic function and eventually heart failure. This review of the literature evaluates the effect of therapeutic intervention on cardiac parameters. Clinical studies investigating the impact of treatments for acromegaly on cardiac function published between January 1980 and January 2009 were identified through electronic searches of Medline. Suppression of GH and IGF-1 following surgery or medical treatment with somatostatin analogue therapy is effective in decreasing left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, with subsequent improvement in cardiac function. First-line treatment with somatostatin analogues resulted in improved cardiac outcome compared with first-line surgery, possibly due to somatostatin analogues acting directly through somatostatin receptors on cardiac cells. Additional cardiac improvement has been reported when somatostatin analogue treatment was combined with surgery. In patients where complete biochemical control was not achieved, an improved cardiac performance following treatment with somatostatin analogues has been reported. Treatment with pegvisomant has been demonstrated to reduce LV hypertrophy and improve diastolic and systolic performance. In contrast, reports have suggested that treatment with the dopamine agonist cabergoline increased the incidence of valvular heart disease. Although surgery and somatostatin analogues are effective in improving cardiomyopathy, a greater beneficial effect is observed with somatostatin analogue treatment. Selected patients with acromegaly should consider first-line therapy or pre-treatment with somatostatin analogues prior to surgery to achieve biochemical control and improve cardiac dysfunction.


Acromegaly Somatostatin analogues Pegvisomant Cardiomyopathy Cardiac function 



The author thanks Claire Routley, PhD, for medical editorial assistance with this manuscript. Financial support for medical editorial assistance was provided by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.

Conflicts of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.

Ethical standards

The author declares that the experiments comply with the Italian current laws.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology and Oncology, Section of EndocrinologyFederico II University of NaplesNaplesItaly

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