Predictive Value of Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Parameters in Ambulatory Advanced Heart Failure

JACC Heart Fail. 2021 Mar;9(3):226-236. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2020.11.008. Epub 2021 Feb 3.


Objectives: This study sought to determine cardiopulmonary exercise (CPX) predictors of the combined outcome of durable mechanical circulatory support (MCS), transplantation, or death at 1 year among patients with ambulatory advanced heart failure (HF).

Background: Optimal CPX predictors of outcomes in contemporary ambulatory advanced HF patients are unclear.

Methods: REVIVAL (Registry Evaluation of Vital Information for ventricular assist devices [VADs] in Ambulatory Life) enrolled 400 systolic HF patients, INTERMACS (Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support) profiles 4-7. CPX was performed by 273 subjects 2 ± 1 months after study enrollment. Discriminative power of maximal (peak oxygen consumption [peak VO2]; VO2 pulse, circulatory power [CP]; peak systolic blood pressure • peak VO2], peak end-tidal pressure CO2 [PEtCO2], and peak Borg scale score) and submaximal CPX parameters (ventilatory efficiency [VE/VCO2 slope]; VO2 at anaerobic threshold [VO2AT]; and oxygen uptake efficiency slope [OUES]) to predict the composite outcome were assessed by univariate and multivariate Cox regression and Harrell's concordance statistic.

Results: At 1 year, there were 39 events (6 transplants, 15 deaths, 18 MCS implantations). Peak VO2, VO2AT, OUES, peak PEtCO2, and CP were higher in the no-event group (all p < 0.001), whereas VE/VCO2 slope was lower (p < 0.0001); respiratory exchange ratio was not different. CP (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.89; p = 0.001), VE/VCO2 slope (HR: 1.05; p = 0.001), and peak Borg scale score (HR: 1.20; p = 0.005) were significant predictors on multivariate analysis (model C-statistic: 0.80).

Conclusions: Among patients with ambulatory advanced HF, the strongest maximal and submaximal CPX predictor of MCS implantation, transplantation, or death at 1 year were CP and VE/VCO2, respectively. The patient-reported measure of exercise effort (Borg scale score) contributed substantially to the prediction of outcomes, a surprising and novel finding that warrants further investigation. (Registry Evaluation of Vital Information for VADs in Ambulatory Life [REVIVAL]; NCT01369407).

Keywords: ambulatory heart failure; cardiac transplant; cardiopulmonary exercise stress test; mechanical circulatory support; predictors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobic Threshold
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart Failure* / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Heart Failure, Systolic*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Prognosis

Associated data