J Chin Med Assoc. 2010 Apr;73(4):194-8.
Differences in biochemical markers and body mass index between patients with and without varicocele.
Chen SS, Huang WJ.
Division of Urology, Taipei City Hospital Renai Branch, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.
BACKGROUND: Varicocele is characterized by abnormal tortuosity and dilatation of the veins of the pampiniform plexus within the spermatic cord and is one of the causes of male infertility. This study aimed to evaluate the differences in biochemical markers and body mass index (BMI) between patients with and without varicocele. METHODS: Between January 2004 and June 2009, 102 patients with varicocele (Group A) were evaluated. Ninety-five age-matched male patients who did not have varicocele were selected as controls (Group B). Varicocele was diagnosed by physical examination and confirmed by Doppler ultrasonography. The range of ages was between 18 and 50 years old. BMI, testosterone
, serum alkaline phosphatase, calcium, lactic dehydrogenase, inorganic phosphate, gammaglutamine transpeptidase, uric acid, albumin, iron, cholesterol, triglyceride, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotrans-ferase levels were measured for all the subjects. RESULTS: The mean age was 35.4 years in group A and 36.5 years in group B. Of the 102 patients in group A, 20 were grade 1 varicocele, 55 were grade 2 and 27 were grade 3. The BMI (mean +/- SD) of patients with varicocele (22.8 +/- 3.2) was significantly lower than that of patients without varicocele (24.9 +/- 4.1). Patients with varicocele had significantly lower serum levels of cholesterol than patients without varicocele (176.5 +/- 31.1 vs. 187.7 +/- 42.1 mg/dL). There were no significant differences for the other biochemical markers between the groups. Patients with grade 3 varicocele had a lower BMI than patients with grades 1 and 2 varicocele, but this was not significant. No significant differences were found for the other biochemical markers among the patients with grade 1, 2 or 3 varicocele.
CONCLUSION: Patients with varicocele had significantly lower serum levels of cholesterol than those without varicocele. In addition, the prevalence of varicocele was higher in patients with a lower BMI. Our findings suggest that patients with a greater BMI may have advantages in relieving the nutcracker phenomenon, which causes significant varicoceles. Copyright 2010 Elsevier. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.