Decoupling of Hemodynamics and Congestive Symptoms in Obese Patients With Heart Failure

J Card Fail. 2023 Sep;29(9):1249-1256. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2023.02.016. Epub 2023 Mar 23.


Background: Prior studies indicate significant physiological differences between obese and nonobese patients with heart failure (HF), but none have evaluated differences in hemodynamic patterns in these patient populations during treatment for acute decompensated HF (ADHF).

Objectives: In this study, we assessed differences in hemodynamic trends between obese and nonobese patients during treatment for ADHF.

Methods: Obese (body mass index (BMI) >30, n = 63) and nonobese (BMI < 25, n = 69) patients with ADHF in the Evaluation Study of Congestive Heart Failure and Pulmonary Artery Catheterization Effectiveness (ESCAPE) study who had pulmonary artery catheterization data available through the duration of treatment were evaluated. Hemodynamics were analyzed at baseline and optimal day. Changes in BNP levels, weight, creatinine, BUN, 6MWT, orthopnea and dyspnea scores were assessed.

Results: Despite similar baseline hemodynamics, obese patients had significantly less absolute and relative pulmonary arterial wedge pressure (PAWP) reduction (-16 ± 28 vs -32 ± 29%; P = 0.03) during treatment. Obese patients also had higher PAWPs (19.9 + 8 vs 15.5 + 6.8 mmHg; P = 0.01) and PA pressures at optimization compared with nonobese patients. Obese and nonobese patients had similar relative improvements in weight, BNP, 6-minute walk test distance, dyspnea and orthopnea scores, and similar changes in creatinine and BUN levels.

Conclusions: Obese patients treated for ADHF display less reduction in invasively measured left heart filling pressures, despite similar improvements in symptoms, weight loss, and noninvasive surrogates of congestion. Our findings suggest a degree of decoupling between left heart filling pressures and congestive symptoms in obese patients undergoing treatment for ADHF.

Keywords: Obesity; acute decompensated heart failure; hemodynamics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Creatinine
  • Dyspnea / diagnosis
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Heart Failure* / complications
  • Heart Failure* / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure* / epidemiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology


  • Creatinine