Plasma Serotonin in Heart Failure: Possible Marker and Potential Treatment Target

Ahmed M. Selim, Nitasha Sarswat, Iosif Kelesidis, Muhammad Iqbal, Ramesh Chandra, Ronald Zolty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background The relationship between heart failure (HF) and the serotonergic system has been established in animal studies. However, data on human plasma serotonin level in HF and its significance over the course of the disease is lacking. Methods Serotonin levels were measured in 173 patients (108 males, 65 females), 116 were stable HF and 40 were acute decompensated HF patients. The normal control group included 17 healthy volunteers with no known medical or psychiatric conditions. Patients receiving medications affecting serotonin receptors and those with pulmonary hypertension were excluded. All patients, except for those in the decompensated group, were on stable doses of HF medications. Results Plasma serotonin levels were significantly elevated in decompensated HF patients compared with stable patients (P=0.002). Higher plasma serotonin levels were associated with worse HF symptoms (NYHA class) and the presence of systolic dysfunction, and was borderline associated with low peak oxygen consumption during cardiopulmonary exercise testing (P=0.055). These results were independent of age, gender, race, hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, weight, coronary artery disease (CAD), atrial fibrillation and medication use. Conclusions Serotonin is a marker for decompensation in patients with chronic heart failure. Higher serotonin levels were associated with worse HF symptoms and systolic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-449
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Lung and Circulation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Decompensated heart failure
  • Heart failure
  • Marker
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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