Phenotyping left ventricular systolic dysfunction in asymptomatic individuals for improved risk stratification

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2023 Sep 26;24(10):1363-1373. doi: 10.1093/ehjci/jead218.


Aims: Left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LSVD) is a heterogeneous condition with several factors influencing prognosis. Better phenotyping of asymptomatic individuals can inform preventative strategies. This study aims to explore the clinical phenotypes of LVSD in initially asymptomatic subjects and their association with clinical outcomes and cardiovascular abnormalities through multi-dimensional data clustering.

Methods and results: Clustering analysis was performed on 60 clinically available variables from 1563 UK Biobank participants without pre-existing heart failure (HF) and with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) < 50% on cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) assessment. Risks of developing HF, other cardiovascular events, death, and a composite of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) associated with clusters were investigated. Cardiovascular imaging characteristics, not included in the clustering analysis, were also evaluated. Three distinct clusters were identified, differing considerably in lifestyle habits, cardiovascular risk factors, electrocardiographic parameters, and cardiometabolic profiles. A stepwise increase in risk profile was observed from Cluster 1 to Cluster 3, independent of traditional risk factors and LVEF. Compared with Cluster 1, the lowest risk subset, the risk of MACE ranged from 1.42 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03-1.96; P < 0.05] for Cluster 2 to 1.72 (95% CI: 1.36-2.35; P < 0.001) for Cluster 3. Cluster 3, the highest risk profile, had features of adverse cardiovascular imaging with the greatest LV re-modelling, myocardial dysfunction, and decrease in arterial compliance.

Conclusions: Clustering of clinical variables identified three distinct risk profiles and clinical trajectories of LVSD amongst initially asymptomatic subjects. Improved characterization may facilitate tailored interventions based on the LVSD sub-type and improve clinical outcomes.

Keywords: cardiovascular events; cardiovascular magnetic resonance; heart failure; left ventricular systolic dysfunction; prognosis; risk stratification.

MeSH terms

  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left*
  • Ventricular Function, Left