Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in patients with normal natriuretic peptide levels is associated with increased morbidity and mortality

Frederik H. Verbrugge, Kazunori Omote, Yogesh N.V. Reddy, Hidemi Sorimachi, Masaru Obokata, Barry A. Borlaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A substantial proportion of patients with heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) present with normal natriuretic peptide (NP) levels. The pathophysiology and natural history for this phenotype remain unclear. METHODS AND RESULTS: Consecutive subjects undergoing invasive cardiopulmonary exercise testing for unexplained dyspnoea at Mayo Clinic in 2006-18 were studied. Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction was defined as a pulmonary arterial wedge pressure (PAWP) ≥15 mmHg (rest) or ≥25 mmHg (exercise). Patients with HFpEF and normal NP [N-terminal of the pro-hormone B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) < 125 ng/L] were compared with HFpEF with high NP (NT-proBNP ≥ 125 ng/L) and controls with normal haemodynamics. Patients with HFpEF and normal (n = 157) vs. high NP (n = 263) were younger, yet older than controls (n = 161), with an intermediate comorbidity profile. Normal NP HFpEF was associated with more left ventricular hypertrophy and worse diastolic function compared with controls, but better diastolic function, lower left atrial volumes, superior right ventricular function, and less mitral/tricuspid regurgitation compared with high NP HFpEF. Cardiac output (CO) reserve with exercise was preserved in normal NP HFpEF [101% predicted, interquartile range (IQR): 75-124%], but this was achieved only at the cost of higher left ventricular transmural pressure (LVTMP) (14 ± 6 mmHg vs. 7 ± 4 mmHg in controls, P < 0.001). In contrast, CO reserve was decreased in high NP HFpEF (85% predicted, IQR: 59-109%), with lower LVTMP (10 ± 8 mmHg) compared with normal NP HFpEF (P < 0.001), despite similar PAWP. Patients with high NP HFpEF displayed the highest event rates, but normal NP HFpEF still had 2.7-fold higher risk for mortality or HF readmissions compared with controls (hazard ratio: 2.74, 95% confidence interval: 1.02-7.32) after adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index. CONCLUSION: Patients with HFpEF and normal NP display mild diastolic dysfunction and preserved CO reserve during exercise, despite marked elevation in filling pressures. While clinical outcomes are not as poor compared with patients with high NP, patients with normal NP HFpEF exhibit increased risk of death or HF readmissions compared with patients without HF, emphasizing the importance of this phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1941-1951
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean heart journal
Volume43
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - May 21 2022

Keywords

  • Diastolic heart failure
  • Exercise tolerance
  • Mortality
  • Natriuretic peptides
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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