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Intestinal Function Altered in Patients with Heart Failure

Morphology, permeability and absorption altered

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with chronic heart failure have altered intestinal morphology, permeability and absorption, according to the results of a study published online Oct. 1 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Noting that bacterial endotoxin in the intestine may contribute to the inflammation observed in patients with chronic heart failure, Stefan D. Anker, M.D., Ph.D., from Charite in Berlin, Germany, and colleagues compared gut morphology and function in 22 patients with chronic heart failure and 22 control subjects.

The researchers found that the bowel wall thickness in patients with heart failure was significantly higher in the terminal ileum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon and sigmoid. These patients also had a 35 percent increase in small intestinal permeability, a 210 percent increase in large intestinal permeability, a 29 percent decrease in D-xylose absorption, and higher concentrations of bacteria in their mucus.

"Chronic heart failure is a multisystem disorder in which intestinal morphology, permeability and absorption are modified," Anker and colleagues conclude. "Increased intestinal permeability and an augmented bacterial biofilm may contribute to the origin of both chronic inflammation and malnutrition."

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