Aims: In congestive heart failure (CHF), arterial response is regulated by endothelial molecules. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether endothelial dysfunction (ED) was a predictor of outcome in a cohort of patients with heart failure.
Methods and results: Endothelial function was assessed in 242 patients with CHF by forearm reactive hyperaemia measured with intermittent venous occlusion plethysmography using a mercury strain gauge. The main endpoints were: 'total events' (death, heart attack, angina, stroke, NYHA class IV, or hospitalization due to heart failure) analysed using Cox regression for repeated events and 'death'. Patients were followed-up for 5 years. Post-hyperaemia forearm blood flow (PHFABF) was an independent predictor of total events [P = 0.01; hazard ratio [Exp(B)] 0.665, standard error (SE) 0.182]. Risk stratification by basal forearm blood flow (BFABF) showed that patients with basal blood flow above the median (3.03 mL min(-1) 100 mL(-1)) benefited from an increase in PHFABF, whereas in patients with a BFABF below the median, the increase in PHFABF did not diminish the risk of events. There was no relation between variations in PHFABF and death.
Conclusion: Post-hyperaemia forearm blood flow, as a measure of ED, is an independent predictor of major events in patients with CHF. A BFABF below the median is more predictive of an increased risk of complications.