Objectives: We sought to prospectively compare the prognostic value of cardiac iodine-123 (I-123) metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) imaging with that of heart rate variability (HRV) in patients with mild-to-moderate chronic heart failure (HF).
Background: Cardiac I-123 MIBG imaging, which reflects cardiac adrenergic nerve activity, provides prognostic information on chronic HF patients. Reduced HRV, indicating derangement in cardiac autonomic control, was also reported to be associated with a poor prognosis in chronic HF patients.
Methods: At study entry, I-123 MIBG imaging and 24-h Holter monitoring were performed in 65 chronic HF outpatients with a radionuclide left ventricular ejection fraction <40%. The cardiac MIBG heart to mediastinum ratio (H/M) and washout rate (WR) were obtained from MIBG imaging. The time and frequency domain parameters of HRV were calculated from 24-h Holter recordings.
Results: At a mean follow-up of 34 +/- 19 months, WR (p < 0.0001), H/M on the delayed image (p = 0.01), and normalized very-low-frequency power (n-VLFP) (p = 0.047) showed a significant association with the cardiac events (sudden death in 3 and hospitalization for worsening chronic HF in 10 patients) on univariate analysis. Multivariate analysis revealed that WR was the only independent predictor of cardiac events, although the predictive accuracy for the combination of abnormal WR and n-VLFP significantly increased, compared with that for abnormal WR (82% vs. 66%, p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Cardiac MIBG WR has a higher prognostic value than HRV parameters in patients with chronic HF. The combination of abnormal WR and n-VLFP would be useful to identify chronic HF patients at a higher risk of cardiac events.