Aims: The aim of this study was to assess the epidemiological features and prognosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) and to compare these findings with those from patients with reduced ejection fraction. Furthermore the effects of N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) requirement in the heart failure diagnosis were assessed by repeating the analyses in the subgroup of patients with elevated NT-proBNP.
Methods and results: In 1844 patients admitted, a clinical diagnosis of heart failure was made in 433; amongst these 61% had HFPEF. An elevated NT-proBNP applied to the heart failure diagnosis reduced the number of heart failure patients to 191, and amongst these 29% had preserved ejection fraction. Use of NT-proBNP reduced clinical differences between heart failure patients with preserved and reduced ejection fraction. When not using NT-proBNP, patients with reduced ejection fraction had higher mortality [hazard ratio (HR) 1.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-1.52; P = 0.04], even after adjustment for other significant predictors of mortality, except NT-proBNP (HR 1.29, 95% CI 1.04-1.59; P = 0.02). However, no difference in mortality was observed when NT-proBNP was adjusted for (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.71-1.15; P = 0.4), or used for the heart failure diagnosis (HR 0.96; 95% CI 0.71-1.29; P = 0.8).
Conclusion: Using a heart failure diagnosis requiring elevated NT-proBNP reduces the prevalence of HFPEF and results in a survival similar to that of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. In contrast, when NT-proBNP is not used for the heart failure diagnosis or adjusted for, HFPEF is associated with a lower mortality in both univariate and multivariate analysis.