Background: Inflammatory markers are increased in chronic heart failure (CHF), including high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), but there is little information on its relationship to prognosis or other prognostic markers. We aimed to investigate the relationship between hsCRP and prognosis in patients with CHF and left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD).
Methods: Patients with CHF and LVSD (n = 957), but without infection or inflammatory disease, were identified. Patients had their medical history taken, underwent physical examination, had electrocardiographic and echocardiographic assessment, and had a 6-minute corridor walk test (6MWT) and blood tests, including hsCRP and N-terminal pro-B natriuretic peptide (NT-pro-BNP).
Results: Patients with worse New York Heart Association class (P = .02), shorter 6-minute corridor walk test distance (P < .001), higher NT-pro-BNP levels (P < .001), anemia (P < .001), and renal dysfunction (P < .001), but not lower LV ejection fraction, had higher plasma concentrations of hsCRP. Patients with a CRP of >11.0 pg/mL had a hazard ratio for death of 3.0 compared with those with a CRP of <2.8 pg/mL (P < .001). Of 402 patients who had a second sample taken for hsCRP at 1 year, 46% showed a substantial change from baseline levels. Marked increases in hsCRP were associated with a fall in hemoglobin level. NT-pro-BNP was noted to be a more accurate prognostic marker than hsCRP (area under the curve of 0.74 compared with 0.67 for hsCRP, P < .05).
Conclusion: Patients with CHF and LVSD have increased serum concentrations of hsCRP that are related to functional limitation and prognosis but not to the severity of LV ejection fraction.