Context: Androgen deficiency is common in men with chronic heart failure (HF) and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Estrogens are formed by the aromatization of androgens; therefore, abnormal estrogen metabolism would be anticipated in HF.
Objective: To examine the relationship between serum concentration of estradiol and mortality in men with chronic HF and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).
Design, setting, and participants: A prospective observational study at 2 tertiary cardiology centers (Wroclaw and Zabrze, Poland) of 501 men (mean [SD] age, 58  years) with chronic HF, LVEF of 28% (SD, 8%), and New York Heart Association [NYHA] classes 1, 2, 3, and 4 of 52, 231, 181, and 37, respectively, who were recruited between January 1, 2002, and May 31, 2006. Cohort was divided into quintiles of serum estradiol (quintile 1, < 12.90 pg/mL; quintile 2, 12.90-21.79 pg/mL; quintile 3, 21.80-30.11 pg/mL; quintile 4, 30.12-37.39 pg/mL; and quintile 5, > or = 37.40 pg/mL). Quintile 3 was considered prospectively as the reference group.
Main outcome measures: Serum concentrations of estradiol and androgens (total testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate [DHEA-S]) were measured using immunoassays.
Results: Among 501 men with chronic HF, 171 deaths (34%) occurred during the 3-year follow-up. Compared with quintile 3, men in the lowest and highest estradiol quintiles had increased mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 4.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.33-7.45 and HR, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.30-4.18; respectively; P < .001). These 2 quintiles had different clinical characteristics (quintile 1: increased serum total testosterone, decreased serum DHEA-S, advanced NYHA class, impaired renal function, and decreased total fat tissue mass; and quintile 5: increased serum bilirubin and liver enzymes, and decreased serum sodium; all P < .05 vs quintile 3). For increasing estradiol quintiles, 3-year survival rates adjusted for clinical variables and androgens were 44.6% (95% CI, 24.4%-63.0%), 65.8% (95% CI, 47.3%-79.2%), 82.4% (95% CI, 69.4%-90.2%), 79.0% (95% CI, 65.5%-87.6%), and 63.6% (95% CI, 46.6%-76.5%); respectively (P < .001).
Conclusion: Among men with chronic HF and reduced LVEF, high and low concentrations of estradiol compared with the middle quintile of estradiol are related to an increased mortality.