BACKGROUND: Hemodynamic perturbations in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) may alter the distribution of blood in the lungs, impair gas transfer from the alveoli into the pulmonary capillaries, and reduce lung diffusing capacity. We hypothesized that impairments in lung diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) in HFpEF would be associated with high mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressures during exercise. METHODS AND RESULTS: Rebreathe DLCO and invasive hemodynamics were measured simultaneously during exercise in patients with exertional dyspnea. Pulmonary pressure waveforms and breath-by-breath pulmonary gas exchange were recorded at rest, 20 W, and symptom-limited maximal exercise. Patients with HFpEF (n=20; 15 women, aged 65±11 years, body mass index 36±8 kg/m2) achieved a lower symptom-limited maximal workload (52±27 W versus 106±42 W) compared with controls with noncardiac dyspnea (n=10; 7 women, aged 55±10 years, body mass index 30±5 kg/m2). DLCO was lower in patients with HFpEF compared with controls at rest (DLCO 10.4±2.9 mL/min per mm Hg versus 16.4±6.9 mL/min per mm Hg, P<0.01) and symptom-limited maximal exercise (DLCO 14.6±4.7 mL/min per mm Hg versus 23.8±10.8 mL/min per mm Hg, P<0.01) because of a lower alveolar-capillary membrane conductance in HFpEF (rest 16.8±6.6 mL/min per mm Hg versus 28.4±11.8 mL/ min per mm Hg, P<0.01; symptom-limited maximal exercise 25.0±6.7 mL/min per mm Hg versus 45.5±22.2 mL/min per mm Hg, P<0.01). DLCO was lower in HFpEF for a given mean pulmonary artery pressure, mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, pulmonary arterial compliance, and transpulmonary gradient. CONCLUSIONS: Lung diffusing capacity is lower at rest and during exercise in HFpEF due to impaired gas conductance across the alveolar-capillary membrane. DLCO is impaired for a given pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and pulmonary arterial compliance. These data provide new insight into the complex relationships between hemodynamic perturbations and gas exchange abnormalities in HFpEF.
- Alveolar-capillary membrane conductance
- Cardiopulmonary exercise test
- Exercise intolerance
- Gas exchange
- Pulmonary capillary blood volume
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine