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JACC Heart Fail. 2017 Jul;5(7):528-537. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2017.02.020. Epub 2017 Jun 14.

Progression to Stage D Heart Failure Among Outpatients With Stage C Heart Failure and Reduced Ejection Fraction.

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Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Electronic address:
Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York.



This study sought to estimate the rate of progression to Stage D heart failure (HF) among outpatients with Stage C HF and to identify risk factors for progression.


The pool of patients who may be candidates for advanced HF therapies is growing.


We estimated 3-year progression to clinically determined Stage D HF and competing mortality among 964 outpatients with Stage C heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), where ejection fraction is ≤40%.


The mean age of patients was 62 ± 15 years; 35% were women; 47% were white; 46% were black, and 7% were of other races; median baseline ejection fraction was 28% (25th to 75th percentile: 20% to 35%); and 47% had ischemic heart disease. After 3.0 years (25th to 75th percentile: 1.7 to 3.2 years), 112 patients progressed to Stage D (3-year incidence: 12.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 10.2% to 14.6%; annualized: 4.5%; 95% CI: 3.8% to 5.5%), and 116 patients died before progression (3-year competing mortality: 12.9%; annualized: 4.7%; 95% CI: 3.9% to 5.6%). By 3 years, 25.1% of patients (95% CI: 22.2% to 28.1%) had either progressed to Stage D or died (annualized: 9.2%; 95% CI: 8.1% to 10.5%). Annualized progression rates were higher in black versus white patients (6.3% vs. 2.7%, respectively; p < 0.001), nonischemic versus ischemic patients (6.1% vs. 2.9%, respectively; p < 0.001), and in New York Heart Association functional class III to IV versus I to II patients (7.5% vs. 1.9%, respectively; p < 0.001) but were similar for men and women (4.7% vs. 4.2%, respectively; p = 0.53). Lower ejection fraction and blood pressure, renal and hepatic dysfunction, and chronic lung disease rates were additional predictors of progression. Predictors of competing mortality were different from those of disease progression.


Among patients with Stage C HFrEF receiving care in a referral center, 4.5% progressed to Stage D HF each year, with earlier progression among black and nonischemic patients. These findings have implications for healthcare planning and resource allocation for these patients.


advanced heart failure; disease progression; heart failure; heart failure with reduced ejection fraction; mortality; outcomes

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