Objective: We evaluated the relation between serum erithropoietin level and the severity of disease and mortality in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).
Methods: We enrolled 96 CHF patients and 50 age- and sex-matched control subjects. Haemoglobin, haemotocrit, N terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and erythropoietin levels and echocardiographic parameters were measured. The patients were contacted 1 year after the evaluations to determine survival.
Results: The patients had lower haemoglobin and haematocrit but higher serum erythropoietin and NT-proBNP levels than the control subjects. Serum erythropoietin and NT-proBNP levels increased with worsening functional class. The serum erythropoietin level correlated negatively with left ventricular ejection fraction (r = -0.404, P < 0.001), haemoglobin (r = -0.530, P < 0.001) and haematocrit (r = -0.496, P < 0.001) levels. The patients who died (n = 17) had lower haemoglobin and haematocrit levels and significantly higher erythropoietin and NT-proBNP levels. However, multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that only NT-proBNP level was an independent predictor of mortality (P = 0.002).
Conclusion: Anaemia and resistance to erythropoietin develop proportionately to disease severity and left ventricular systolic dysfunction in patients with CHF. Although serum erythropoietin level seems related with mortality, this observation needs to be confirmed by studies with more patients and longer follow-up.