Objectives: This prospective study tested whether transmitral flow patterns add incremental value to peak oxygen consumption (VO2) in determining the prognosis of patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) and systolic dysfunction.
Background: Peak VO2 is an objective marker of functional capacity and is routinely used as a criterion to identify heart transplant candidates. Diastolic dysfunction limits functional capacity, but its prognostic importance relative to that of peak VO2 is unknown.
Methods: Peak VO2 and mitral inflow velocities were prospectively measured in 311 consecutive patients (mean age 54 years, 84% male) with impaired left ventricular function (ejection fraction <40%; 88 patients with ischemic and 223 with dilated cardiomyopathy) who were evaluated for heart transplant candidacy.
Results: During a mean follow-up period of 512 +/- 314 days, 65 patients died and 43 patients underwent heart transplantation. Diastolic filling patterns, peak VO2 and left ventricular end-diastolic diameters were independent predictors of cardiac mortality. In patients with peak VO2 < or = 14 ml/min per kg body weight, the outcome was markedly poorer in the presence of restrictive filling patterns as compared with their absence (two-year survival rate 52% vs. 80%). Similarly, despite peak VO2 levels >14 ml/min per kg, the outcome was less favorable in the presence of restrictive filling patterns (two-year survival rate 80% vs. 94%). A risk-stratification model based on the identified independent noninvasive predictors separated groups into those with high (93%), intermediate (65%) and low (39%) two-year survival rates.
Conclusions: Transmitral flow patterns add incremental value to peak VO2 in determining the prognosis of patients with CHF and impaired systolic function.