Dobutamine-induced augmentation of left ventricular ejection fraction predicts survival of heart failure patients with severe non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy

T M Ramahi, M D Longo, A R Cadariu, K Rohlfs, M Slade, S Carolan, E Vallejo, F J Wackers
European Heart Journal 2001, 22 (10): 849-56

AIMS: The prognosis of patients with severe non-ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy is variable. The predictive value of currently utilized tests is suboptimal. The purpose of this study was to determine the prognostic value of dobutamine-induced augmentation of left ventricular ejection fraction in patients with non-ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Sixty-two patients with left ventricular ejection fraction < or =0.30 underwent exercise testing with gas exchange analysis and assessment of left ventricular ejection fraction at rest and after a 10-min intravenous infusion of dobutamine at 10 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1), using equilibrium radionuclide ventriculography. Age was 48+/-11 years, 32% females, functional class 2.6+/-0.6, resting left ventricular ejection fraction 0.20+/-0.06, and peak exercise oxygen consumption (mVO2) 19+/-6 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1). Mean dobutamine-induced augmentation of left ventricular ejection fraction (DeltaLVEF) was 0.09+/-0.06 (median 0.08, range -0.03 to 0.26). Follow-up was 25+/-15 months during which there were 12 deaths and five transplantations. Patients were divided into two groups based on median DeltaLVEF. The transplant-free survival was better in the group with higher DeltaLVEF (94% vs 64%, P<0.008). In multivariate analysis incorporating age, gender, duration of chronic heart failure, functional class, right and left ventricular ejection fraction, DeltaLVEF, left ventricular end-diastolic volume index, and mVO2, only DeltaLVEF was predictive of 1-year, 3-year, and overall transplant-free survival (RR 0.09, 0.03, and 0.13;P 0.03, 0.09, and 0.08 respectively). The linear correlation between DeltaLVEF and mVO2(r=0.3) and between DeltaLVEF and left ventricular ejection fraction (r=0.5) was weak.

CONCLUSION: Dobutamine-induced augmentation of left ventricular ejection fraction is a strong prognostic variable, independent of exercise capacity and resting ventriculographic variables, in severe non-ischaemic systolic dysfunctional heart failure.

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