Frequency of Massive Cardiac Adiposity (Floating Heart) in the Native Hearts of Patients Having Heart Transplantation at a Single Texas Hospital (2013 to 2015) and Comparison of Various Clinical and Morphologic Variables in the Patients With Massive Versus Nonmassive Cardiac Adiposity

Published:January 28, 2016DOI:
      Body weight continues to increase worldwide due primarily to the increase in body fat. This study analyzes the frequency of massive adiposity at hearts of patients who underwent heart transplantation (HT) determined by the ability of the heart to float in a container of 10% formaldehyde (because adipose tissue is lighter than myocardium) and compares certain characteristics of those patients with and without floating hearts. The hearts studied at HT during a 3-year period (2013 to 2015) at Baylor University Medical Center were carefully “cleaned” and weighed by the same individual and tested as to their ability to float in a container of formaldehyde, an indication of severe cardiac adiposity. Of the 220 hearts studied, 84 (38%) floated in a container of formaldehyde and 136 (62%) did not. Comparison of the 84 patients with floating hearts to the 136 with nonfloating hearts showed a significant difference in ages, but a nonsignificant difference in gender, body mass index, frequency of systemic hypertension, or diabetes mellitus. The odds of a heart being a floating one was increased in patients with a diagnosis of ischemic cardiomyopathy (unadjusted odds ratio 2.12, 95% CI 1.21 to 3.70). The frequency of massive cardiac adiposity in the native hearts of patients having HT (38%) is striking and appears to have increased in frequency in the recent decades.
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