Pulmonary and Cardiac Function in Asymptomatic Obese Subjects and Changes following a Structured Weight Reduction Program: A Prospective Observational Study
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BACKGROUND: The prevalence of obesity is rising. Obesity can lead to cardiovascular and ventilatory complications through multiple mechanisms. Cardiac and pulmonary function in asymptomatic subjects and the effect of structured dietary programs on cardiac and pulmonary function is unclear. OBJECTIVE: To determine lung and cardiac function in asymptomatic obese adults and to evaluate whether weight loss positively affects functional parameters. METHODS: We prospectively evaluated bodyplethysmographic and echocardiographic data in asymptomatic subjects undergoing a structured one-year weight reduction program. RESULTS: 74 subjects (32 male, 42 female; mean age 42±12 years) with an average BMI 42.5±7.9, body weight 123.7±24.9 kg were enrolled. Body weight correlated negatively with vital capacity (R = -0.42, p<0.001), FEV1 (R = -0.497, p<0.001) and positively with P 0.1 (R = 0.32, p = 0.02) and myocardial mass (R = 0.419, p = 0.002). After 4 months the study subjects had significantly reduced their body weight (-26.0±11.8 kg) and BMI (-8.9±3.8) associated with a significant improvement of lung function (absolute changes: vital capacity +5.5±7.5% pred., p<0.001; FEV1+9.8±8.3% pred., p<0.001, ITGV+16.4±16.0% pred., p<0.001, SR tot -17.4±41.5% pred., p<0.01). Moreover, P0.1/Pimax decreased to 47.7% (p<0.01) indicating a decreased respiratory load. The change of FEV1 correlated significantly with the change of body weight (R = -0.31, p = 0.03). Echocardiography demonstrated reduced myocardial wall thickness (-0.08±0.2 cm, p = 0.02) and improved left ventricular myocardial performance index (-0.16±0.35, p = 0.02). Mitral annular plane systolic excursion (+0.14, p = 0.03) and pulmonary outflow acceleration time (AT +26.65±41.3 ms, p = 0.001) increased. CONCLUSION: Even in asymptomatic individuals obesity is associated with abnormalities in pulmonary and cardiac function and increased myocardial mass. All the abnormalities can be reversed by a weight reduction program.
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