The Levels of Ghrelin in Children with Cyanotic and Acyanotic Congenital Heart Disease
The cause of growth retardation in congenital heart disease is multifactorial. The relationship between congenital heart disease (CHD), malnutrition, and growth retardation is well documented. Ghrelin has effects on nutrient intake and growth. Ghrelin exerts potent GH-releasing activity and stimulates food intake. Circulating ghrelin levels are increased in anorexia and cachexia, reduced in obesity and restored by weight recovery. The relation between ghrelin and congenital heart disease is evident in adults but it is not studied well in pediatric age. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the serum ghrelin in congenital heart disease. We measured serum ghrelin, using ELISA technique in 60 patients with congenital heart disease (20 with acyanotic congenital heart disease with no heart failure (HF), 15 with cyanotic congenital heart disease with no HF) and 25 patients with congenital heart disease (cyanotic or acyanotic) with HF, in addition to 30 age and sex matched children as a control group. All children were subjected to measurement of height, weight, body mass index (BMI). In comparison to controls, serum ghrelin levels were significantly higher in patients with congenital heart disease (acyanotic patients and cyanotic with or without HF than in the control group (p=0.01). Also ghrelin level was significantly increased in children with cyanotic congenital heart disease than in those with acyanotic congenital heart disease. Patient with congenital heart disease with evidence of HF had significant higher levels of serum ghrelin than those with congenital heart disease without HF. Weight, height and BMI were significantly lower in cyanotic and acyanotic patients compared to the control group (p=0.001), also these measures were significantly reduced in patients with congenital heart disease with HF than in those without heart failure. There was a significant negative correlation between serum ghrelin and BMI in patients with heart failure, cyanotic patients and acyanotic patients; (r = -0.608, -0.831 and -0.458) and (p = 0.007, 0.02 and 0.017) respectively. In onclusion, serum ghrelin levels is elevated in children with acyanotic and cyanotic congenital heart disease with or without HF. Increased ghrelin levels represents malnutrition and growth retardation in these patients. This may suggest that ghrelin may have an important role as a compensatory mechanism in the regulation of the metabolic balance in these patients.
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