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Eur J Heart Fail. 2001 Oct;3(5):577-85.

Risk stratification in middle-aged patients with congestive heart failure: prospective comparison of the Heart Failure Survival Score (HFSS) and a simplified two-variable model.

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Department of Cardiology, University of Heidelberg, Bergheimerstr. 58, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany.



The performance of a US-American scoring system (Heart Failure Survival Score, HFSS) was prospectively evaluated in a sample of ambulatory patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Additionally, it was investigated whether the HFSS might be simplified by assessment of the distance ambulated during a 6-min walk test (6'WT) instead of determination of peak oxygen uptake (peak VO(2)).


In 208 middle-aged CHF patients (age 54+/-10 years, 82% male, NYHA class 2.3+/-0.7; follow-up 28+/-14 months) the seven variables of the HFSS: CHF aetiology; heart rate; mean arterial pressure; serum sodium concentration; intraventricular conduction time; left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF); and peak VO(2), were determined. Additionally, a 6'WT was performed. The HFSS allowed discrimination between patients at low, medium and high risk, with mortality rates of 16, 39 and 50%, respectively. However, the prognostic power of the HFSS was not superior to a two-variable model consisting only of LVEF and peak VO(2). The areas under the receiver operating curves (AUC) for prediction of 1-year survival were even higher for the two-variable model (0.84 vs. 0.74, P<0.05). Replacing peak VO(2) with 6'WT resulted in a similar AUC (0.83).


The HFSS continued to predict survival when applied to this patient sample. However, the HFSS was inferior to a two-variable model containing only LVEF and either peak VO(2) or 6'WT. As the 6'WT requires no sophisticated equipment, a simplified two-variable model containing only LVEF and 6'WT may be more widely applicable, and is therefore recommended.

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