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Eur Heart J. 2009 Apr;30(7):789-96. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehp004. Epub 2009 Feb 4.

Prognostic value of apoptosis markers in advanced heart failure patients.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine II, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, Vienna, Austria.



Apoptosis plays an important role in the progression of heart failure (HF). The purpose of this study was to assess whether the pro-apoptotic molecules apoptosis-stimulating fragment (FAS, CD95/APO-1) and tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) predict event-free survival of HF patients.


We assayed soluble (s)FAS and sTRAIL levels in 351 patients with advanced HF. During the median follow-up time of 16 months, 175 patients (50%) experienced the composite endpoints: rehospitalization and death. The hazard increased with sFAS concentrations, with a hazard ratio of 2.3 comparing fourth and first quartiles. This association remained significant after adjustment for B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and other risk factors in a Cox regression model (P = 0.014). Patients with high sFAS but low BNP had a comparable event-free survival rate with those with elevated BNP only (P = 0.78). Conversely, high sTRAIL concentrations were related to a better prognosis. Particularly, the risk of mortality dropped by 70% in the fourth quartile of sTRAIL (P = 0.001, multivariable Cox regression model).


sFAS is an independent risk predictor in advanced HF patients. It may be of particular value for the identification of high-risk patients in addition to BNP. Conversely, sTRAIL appears to be protective and could be an interesting therapeutic agent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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