Cardiovascular abnormalities in Klinefelter Syndrome
Pasquali D, Arcopinto M, Renzullo A, Rotondi M, Accardo G, Salzano A, Esposito D, Saldamarco L, Isidori AM, Marra AM, Ruvolo A, Napoli R, Bossone E, Lenzi A, Baliga RR, SaccĂ  L, Cittadini A. Int J Cardiol. 2012 Oct 20. pii: S0167-5273(12)01338-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.09.215. [Epub ahead of print]


Department of Cardiothoracic and Respiratory Science, Endocrinology Unit, Second University of Naples, Italy.



Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated an increased mortality from cardiovascular causes in patients with Klinefelter Syndrome (KS). Little information is available about the nature of the underlying cardiovascular abnormalities. Aim of the study was to investigate exercise performance, left ventricular architecture and function, vascular reactivity, and carotid intima-media thickness in a group of patients with KS.


Sixty-nine patients with KS and 48 age-matched controls participated in our population-controlled study. Forty-eight Klinefelter subjects were on testosterone treatment at the time of the investigation while 21 were naive and underwent a complete Doppler echocardiographic examination, a cardiopulmonary exercise test as well as a vascular study including measures of carotid intima-media thickness and endothelial function with flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery. Patients with KS on testosterone therapy (n=48) were also matched against a population of men with treated secondary hypogonadism (n=21).


Patients with KS exhibited a wide array of cardiovascular abnormalities including left ventricular diastolic dysfunction, reduced maximal oxygen consumption (p<0.01), increased intima-media thickness (p<0.05) (-34% and +42% vs. controls, respectively) and a high prevalence of chronotropic incompetence (55% of patients, p<0.01). No significant difference was found between treated and untreated KS in variance with men treated for secondary hypogonadism.


Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction, impaired cardiopulmonary performance, chronotropic incompetence, and increased intima-media thickness suggest that cardiovascular abnormalities are a common finding in KS that is not reversed by testosterone replacement therapy and may represent the pathophysiological underpinnings of the increased risk of dying from heart disease.