Background: The occurrence of heart failure associated with an acute myocardial infarction has a strong adverse effect on long-term morbidity and mortality. The prediction and prevention of heart failure could influence these adverse events.
Methods and results: We studied 483 consecutive patients who had their first acute myocardial infarction and who were admitted within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Heart failure was defined as the presence of pulmonary rales or an S3 gallop, or the presence of alveolar or interstitial edema by radiograph. Baseline demographic data, determination of peak creatine phosphokinase level, echocardiographic left ventricular ejection fraction, blood pressure, and pulse were obtained. Heart failure occurred in 41.6% (201 of 483) of the patients. We observed a bimodal occurrence of heart failure with an early occurrence at admission in 4% (20 of 483) followed by a second increase beginning after the fourth day of admission in 39% of the remaining patients (181 of 463). Predictors of early heart failure were older age, diabetes mellitus, or previous cardiac symptoms, whereas the predictors of heart failure after the fourth day included the same demographic predictors in addition to a history of hypertension, male sex, increased peak creatine phosphokinase level and heart rate, and decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction. In-hospital death occurred in 5.3% compared with 1.4% (P =.012) in patients who did and did not have heart failure, respectively. The occurrence of heart failure during hospital admission also adversely affected the 18-month follow-up, with 14.9% deaths in the patients with heart failure and 6.4% in those without heart failure (P =.002).
Conclusion: Heart failure is frequently associated with acute myocardial infarction and occurs with a bimodal distribution and is associated with increased risk of death during hospitalization and during 18 months of follow-up. Predictors of early heart failure include previous medical conditions and age. The second peak occurrence can be predicted by similar characteristics in addition to increased peak creatine phosphokinase level, decreased left ventricular ejection fraction, and increased heart rate.