The heart weight–body weight coefficient in Kenyans aged 14 years and above
Date of Award
Master of Medicine (MMed)
Pathology (East Africa)
Background: The heart size has traditionally been assessed using absolute reference weights. But the heart weight (HW) has been shown to depend on one’s body size hence a better measure is the ratio of the HW to the body weight (BW) – the HW-BW coefficient. Initially noted to be 0.43% and 0.40% in males and females respectively, recent studies have shown an increase of up to 0.51%.
Objective: To determine the HW-BW coefficient in Kenyans aged 14 years and above.
Methods: One hundred and four deceased Kenyans aged 14 years and above, with no heart or chronic lung disease, were recruited into the prospective cross-sectional study. Their ages, body lengths (BLs), BW and HW were recorded. Their body mass indices (BMI) and body surface areas (BSA) were also calculated.
Results: There were 88 males and 16 females, all of African descent. Males had larger HW. The HW-BW ratio was 0.48% and 0.42% in males and females respectively. The difference in the value between the sexes was statistically significant. Among the males, there was a significant positive correlation between HW and all body indices as well as with age. Among the females, there was a significant positive correlation between HW and BSA and between HW and age. Recently generated HW-vs-BW and HW-vs-BSA charts from the UK were found unsuitable for the Kenyan context.
Conclusions: The Kenyan HW-BW coefficient is lower than that recently documented in other parts of the world. Males have a larger coefficient than females. The HW is related to both size and age of an individual.
Etabale, M. (2014). The heart weight–body weight coefficient in Kenyans aged 14 years and above (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, East Africa.