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Am J Cardiol. 1998 Aug 1;82(3):323-8.

Skin test anergy in advanced heart failure secondary to either ischemic or idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.

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School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles 90095-6917, USA.


Skin tests to recall antigens are performed as indicators of clinical outcomes in heart failure (HF). A diminution in the response to recall antigens, termed "anergy," is regarded as an indication of poorer clinical prognosis, although little analysis has been done to support that conclusion. Patients with advanced HF (n=222) in New York Heart Association classes III and IV, with complete datasets for all of the variables, were studied. The sample was 77% men, mean age 52+/-12 years, and left ventricular ejection fraction, 21+/-7. Patients with ischemic (n=113) and idiopathic (n=109) disease were analyzed separately. The relation of anergy to 1-year mortality and selected hemodynamic factors, blood chemistries, medications, and nutritional status markers was analyzed. Anergy was present in 45% (47% idiopathic and 42% ischemic) of patients. Anergy was related to 1-year mortality (univariate p=0.038) in patients with ischemic, but not idiopathic, HF. Anergic patients with ischemic HF had shorter survival times (p=0.035). Lower cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides were predictors (p <0.001) of mortality in idiopathic HF. In ischemic HF, lower cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides were univariate predictors (p <0.001, p=0.004, and p=0.005, respectively) of skin test anergy, but not mortality. Thus, there were distinct differences in clinical correlates of skin test anergy in patients with idiopathic and ischemic HF. This study supports evaluation of anergy to skin tests as one of the markers of mortality in patients with ischemic HF.

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