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Am J Cardiol. 2009 Apr 1;103(7):1003-10. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.11.061.

Risk stratification of mortality in patients with heart failure and left ventricular ejection fraction >35%.

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Catalan Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, Barcelona, Spain.


The population of patients with heart failure (HF) and mild to moderate left ventricular (LV) dysfunction is growing, and mortality remains high. There is a need for better risk stratification of patients who might benefit from primary prevention of mortality. This study aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of Holter-based parameters for predicting mortality in patients with HF with LV ejection fraction (EF) >35%. The study involved 294 patients (199 men, mean age 66 years) with HF of ischemic and nonischemic causes, New York Heart Association classes II to III, and LVEF >35%. Surface electrocardiogram and 24-hour Holter monitoring were performed at enrollment to assess traditional electrocardiographic variables, as well as heart rate variability, heart rate turbulence, and repolarization dynamics (QT/RR). Total mortality and sudden death were the primary and secondary end points. During a median 44-month follow-up, there were 43 deaths (15%). None of the traditional electrocardiographic risk parameters significantly predicted mortality. A standard deviation of all normal-to-normal RR intervals < or =86 ms, turbulence slope < or =2.5 ms/RR, and QT end/RR >0.21 at daytime were found to be independent risk predictors of mortality in multivariate analyses. The predictive score based on these 3 variables showed that patients with > or =2 abnormal risk markers were at risk of death (30% 3-year mortality rate) and sudden death (12%), similar to death rates observed in patients with LVEF < or =35%. In conclusion, increased risk of mortality and sudden death could be predicted in patients with HF with LVEF >35% by evaluating the combination of standard deviation of all normal-to-normal RR intervals, turbulence slope, and QT/RR, parameters reflecting autonomic control of the heart, baroreflex sensitivity, and repolarization dynamics.

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