Background: Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a recently discovered marker for myocardial fibrosis and elevated levels are associated with an impaired outcome after short-term follow-up in heart failure (HF) patients. However, whether Gal-3 is related to cardiac remodeling and outcome after long-term follow-up is unknown. Therefore, we determined the utility of Gal-3 as a novel biomarker for left ventricular remodeling and long-term outcome in patients with severe chronic HF.
Methods and results: A total of 240 HF patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III and IV were included. Patients were followed for 8.7 ± 1 years, had a mean age of 71 ± 0.6 years and 73 % of the study population was male. Circulating levels of NT-proBNP and Gal-3 were measured. Serial echocardiography was performed at baseline and at 3 months. At baseline median left ventricular end-diastolic volume (LVEDV) was 267 mL [interquartile range 232-322]. Patients were divided into three groups according to the change in LVEDV. Patients in whom the LVEDV decreased over time had significant lower levels of Gal-3 at entry compared to patients in whom the LVEDV was stable or increased (14.7 vs. 17.9 vs. 19.0 ng/mL; p = 0.004 for trend), whereas no significant differences were seen in levels of NT-proBNP (p = 0.33). Multivariate linear regression analyses revealed that Gal-3 levels were positively correlated to change in LVEDV (p = 0.007). In addition, Gal-3 was a significant predictor of mortality after long-term follow-up (p = 0.001).
Conclusion: Gal-3 is associated with left ventricular remodeling determined by serial echocardiography and predicts long-term mortality in patients with severe chronic HF.