Heart failure (HF) is accompanied by diminished cognitive, motor, learning, emotional, and planning deficits, which are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. A basal ganglia structure, the putamen, serves many functions that are affected in HF, but its global or localized structural integrity is unknown. Our aim was to evaluate global and regional putamen volume differences in HF over control subjects.
Methods and results
We collected two high-resolution T1-weighted scans from 16 HF patients (age, 54.1 ± 8.3 years; 12 males; left ventricular ejection fraction, 27.8 ± 6.8%) and 32 control subjects (52.4 ± 7.3 years; 24 males) using a 3.0 T magnetic resonance imaging scanner. After realigning, averaging, and reorienting the T1-weighted volumes into a common space, the structures were manually outlined, tracings were normalized for head size, volumes calculated, and surface models generated. Demographic data were compared between groups with χ2 and independent samples t-tests, global putamen volumes were evaluated using independent samples t-tests, and regional differences were examined with surface morphometry. No significant differences in age or sex appeared between groups, but body mass index differed significantly (P = 0.008). Heart failure patients showed significantly lower left (controls vs. HF; 4842.1 ± 740.0 vs. 4224.1 ± 894.4 mm3, P = 0.014) and right (4769.3 ± 651.9 vs. 4193.7 ± 876.2 mm3, P = 0.014) global putamen volumes than controls, with localized reductions in bilateral rostral, mid-dorsal, and medial-caudal regions (left, P < 0.003; right, P < 0.0002).
Putamen structures showed global and localized volume reductions in HF over controls. The localized volume losses suggest deficits in motor and neuropsychological functions, which are evident in HF subjects, and may be due to hypoxic and ischaemic processes targeting these areas.
Keywords: Magnetic resonance imaging, Brain, Heart failure, Three-dimensional surface morphometry, Basal ganglia