Olivier C. Dams, Marlene A. T. Vijver, Charlotte L. van Veldhuisen, Robert C. Verdonk, Marc G. Besselink, and Dirk J. van Veldhuisen
Heart failure is associated with decreased tissue perfusion and increased venous congestion that may result in organ dysfunction. This dysfunction has been investigated extensively for many organs, but data regarding pancreatic (exocrine) dysfunction are scarce. In the present review we will discuss the available data on the mechanisms of pancreatic damage, how heart failure can lead to exocrine dysfunction, and its clinical consequences. We will show that heart failure causes significant impairment of pancreatic exocrine function, particularly in the elderly, which may exacerbate the clinical syndrome of heart failure. In addition, pancreatic exocrine insufficiency may lead to further deterioration of cardiovascular disease and heart failure, thus constituting a true vicious circle. We aim to provide insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms that constitute this reciprocal relation. Finally, novel treatment options for pancreatic dysfunction in heart failure are discussed.