- Cachexia refers to weight loss and skeletal muscle wasting due to illness where the body does not reduce catabolism (unlike the adaptive reduction in protein metabolism that occurs in starvation)
- Mechanisms not clearly understood
- Pre-existing malnutrition / malabsorption
- Cytokine-induced up-regulation of muscle protein degradation
- Neuro-endocrine – stimulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
- Reduced circulating anabolic hormones
- Immobility and prolonged length of stay
- Corticosteroid therapy
- Increased risk of death
- Prolonged time on ventilator
- Increased ICU and hospital length of stay
- Increased risk of nosocomial infections
- Poor wound healing
- Weakness and slow respiratory weaning
- Malnutrition and nutritional deficiency syndromes
References and Links
- Gordon JN, Green SR, Goggin PM. Cancer cachexia. QJM. 2005 Nov;98(11):779-88. PMID: 16214835.
- Morley JE, Thomas DR, Wilson MM. Cachexia: pathophysiology and clinical relevance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):735-43. PMID: 16600922.
- von Haehling S, Doehner W, Anker SD. Nutrition, metabolism, and the complex pathophysiology of cachexia in chronic heart failure. Cardiovasc Res. 2007 Jan 15;73(2):298-309.PMID: 17034772.