A recent metanalysis has shown that testosterone supplements in patients with heart failure improved the breathing and exercise.
The study which analyzed four randomized clinical trials of patients with moderate to severe heart failure, has been published in Circulation: Heart Failure
According to authors, low testosterone is an independent predictor of reduced exercise capacity and poor clinical outcomes in patients with heart failure and they undertook the study to determine if testosterone therapy improves exercise capacity in patients with stable chronic HF.
For this the authors searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane CENTRAL databases between the years 1980 to 2010 and included randomized trials reporting the effects of testosterone on exercise capacity in heart failure patients.
The four studies included 198 patients, 84% of whom were men, with an average age of 67. One study found similar improvements in women, who were taking lower doses of testosterone than men.
Patients were given commercial testosterone supplements by injection, patch or gel.
Based on the analysis of these studies, it was found that those who received supplemental testosterone scored 50% better in a 6-minute walking test than those receiving placebo.
Heart failure as measured by the New York Heart Association classification system improved one to two grades in 35% of treated patients compared to 9.8% of those who did not receive the supplements.
A gain in muscle and skeletal endurance was also noted.
No significant adverse events were reported
Large clinical trials are needed to confirm the findings, authors noted and if the findings are confirmed, testosterone could become primary therapy in heart failure.
Source: Circulation: Heart Failure Published online before print April 17, 2012, doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.111.965632