Background: Mitral regurgitation (MR) may develop in patients with advanced systolic congestive heart failure (CHF) without organic mitral valve disease and contribute to worsening symptoms and survival. Surgical mitral annuloplasty improves symptoms in patients with advanced CHF, and percutaneous approaches to mitral annuloplasty are being developed. Our objective was to define the prevalence, clinical correlates, and prognostic implications of functional MR and the use of mitral annuloplasty in patients with advanced systolic CHF evaluated in a heart failure clinic.
Methods and results: We reviewed clinical, echocardiographic, and survival data from all patients with advanced systolic CHF (New York Heart Association class III or IV; ejection fraction </=35%) resulting from ischemic or idiopathic cardiomyopathy who were evaluated at our heart failure clinic between January 1996 and September 2001. Of 716 patients with advanced CHF, 558 had satisfactory baseline echocardiograms performed at our institution. Among these patients, MR was severe in 24 (4.3%), moderate-severe in 70 (12.5%), moderate in 122 (21.9%), mild-moderate in 66 (11.8%), mild in 218 (39.1%), and absent or present as only a trace in 58 (10.4%). The severity of MR was confirmed by quantitative analysis in 72% of patients with hemodynamically significant MR (more than moderate). The severity of MR correlated with the severity of systolic dysfunction (P <.001), ventricular dilatation (P <.03), atrial dilatation (P <.001), diastolic dysfunction (P <.001), and pulmonary hypertension (P <.001). Coexistent severe or moderate-severe tricuspid regurgitation was present in 25% of patients with hemodynamically significant MR. Patients with hemodynamically significant MR had higher mortality (P=.03) but not when controlling for age, sex, cause, New York Heart Association class, and ejection fraction (P=.95). Only 3 patients subsequently underwent mitral valve repair.
Conclusion: Among patients with advanced CHF, hemodynamically significant MR is common. The severity of MR did not provide independent prognostic information in this group recognized to have uniformly high mortality.