Gastrointestinal changes associated to heart failure
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Over the last decade, several studies were conducted on the gastrointestinal changes associated to chronic heart failure. This article presents a literature review on the physiopathology and clinical consequences of pathological digestive changes of heart failure patients. Structural and functional abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract, such as edema of absorptive mucosa and intestinal bacterial overgrowth, have been leading to serious clinical consequences. Some of these consequences are cardiac cachexia, systemic inflammatory activation and anemia. These conditions, alone or in combination, may lead to worsening of the pre-existing ventricular dysfunction. Although currently there is no therapy specifically earmarked for gastrointestinal changes associated to heart failure, the understanding of digestive abnormalities is germane for the prevention and management of systemic consequences.
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