A "pET" area of interest: Myocardial metabolism in human systolic heart failure

Ana Kadkhodayan, Andrew R. Coggan, Linda R. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Myocardial substrate metabolism provides the energy needed for cardiac contraction and relaxation. The normal adult heart uses predominantly fatty acids (FAs) as its primary fuel source. However, the heart can switch and use glucose (and to a lesser extent, ketones, lactate, as well as endogenous triglycerides and glycogen), depending on the metabolic milieu and superimposed conditions. FAs are not a wholly better fuel than glucose, but they do provide more energy per mole than glucose. Conversely, glucose is the more oxygen-efficient fuel. Studies in animal models of heart failure (HF) fairly consistently demonstrate a shift away from myocardial fatty acid metabolism and toward glucose metabolism. Studies in humans are less consistent. Some show the same metabolic switch away from FA metabolism but not all. This may be due to differences in the etiology of HF, sex-related differences, or other mitigating factors. For example, obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes are all related to an increased risk of HF and may complicate or contribute to its development. However, these conditions are associated with increased FA metabolism. This review will discuss aspects of human heart metabolism in systolic dysfunction as measured by the noninvasive, quantitative method - positron emission tomography. Continued research in this area is vital if we are to ameliorate HF by manipulating heart metabolism with the aim of increasing energy production and/or efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-574
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Fatty acids
  • Glucose
  • Heart failure
  • Obesity
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Systolic dysfunction


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