Acromegaly is a syndrome of autonomous overproduction of growth hormone (GH), most commonly caused by a pituitary adenoma. Hypersecretion of GH and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) leads to somatic enlargement, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. There is increasing awareness that clinically elevated GH and IGF-I levels lead to a cardiomyopathy that is independent of the presence of coexisting risk factors for heart disease. This article will review the clinico-pathologic effects of GH and IGF-I on the cardiovascular system as investigated in patients with acromegaly and experimental animal models of GH excess.
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