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JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Jul;7(7):641-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2014.04.009. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Pre-load stress echocardiography for predicting the prognosis in mild heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Tokushima University Hospital, Tokushima, Japan. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Tokushima University Hospital, Tokushima, Japan.
  • 3Ultrasound Examination Center, Tokushima University Hospital, Tokushima, Japan.



This study sought to introduce and confirm the efficacy of pre-load stress echocardiography with leg-positive pressure (LPP) for improving risk stratification of patients with mild stable heart failure.


Heart failure patients with mild symptoms and a poor prognosis should be identified and treated aggressively to improve clinical outcome.


We performed transthoracic echocardiography with LPP in 202 patients with chronic cardiac disease. Twenty-two of these patients also underwent cardiac catheterization, and left ventricular pressure was measured during LPP along with simultaneous Doppler recordings. Patients were classified into 3 groups on the basis of their left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction as assessed by transmitral flow velocity: restrictive or pseudonormal (PN) at rest, impaired relaxation (IR) at rest and during LPP (stable IR), and IR at rest and PN during LPP (unstable IR). Clinical outcome was compared among these groups.


The LPP increased LV end-diastolic pressure from 15.8 ± 4.7 mm Hg to 20.5 ± 5.0 mm Hg in the unstable IR group and from 10.5 ± 2.6 mm Hg to 14.7 ± 3.8 mm Hg in the stable IR group (both p < 0.001). During an average follow-up of 548 ± 407 days, 5 patients had cardiac death, 37 had acute heart failure, 4 had an acute myocardial infarction, and 7 had a stroke. The all-cause cardiac event rate in unstable IR was higher than in stable IR (p < 0.001), and was similar in the PN group (p = 0.81). Event-free survival was significantly lower in unstable IR than in stable IR (p = 0.003). In a Cox proportional hazards model, unstable IR was an independent predictor of all-cause cardiac events (hazard ratio: 8.0; p < 0.001).


The left LV end-diastolic pressure-volume relationship can be estimated by changes in transmitral flow velocity during LPP. Thus, pre-load stress echocardiography using LPP provides additional prognostic information in mild heart failure beyond that provided by conventional Doppler echocardiography at rest.

Copyright © 2014 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Doppler echocardiography; heart failure; leg-positive pressure; stress echocardiography; survival

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