Patients with heart failure in the "intermediate range" of peak oxygen uptake: additive value of heart rate recovery and the minute ventilation/carbon dioxide output slope in predicting mortality

Luiz Eduardo Ritt, Ricardo Brandão Oliveira, Jonathan Myers, Ross Arena, Mary Ann Peberdy, Daniel Bensimhon, Paul Chase, Daniel Forman, Marco Guazzi
Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention 2012, 32 (3): 141-6

PURPOSE: While patients with heart failure who achieve a peak oxygen uptake (peak VO2) of 10 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1) or less are often considered for intensive surveillance or intervention, those achieving 14 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1) or more are generally considered to be at lower risk. Among patients in the "intermediate" range of 10.1 to 13.9 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1), optimally stratifying risk remains a challenge.

METHODS: Patients with heart failure (N = 1167) referred for cardiopulmonary exercise testing were observed for 21 ± 13 months. Patients were classified into 3 groups of peak VO2 (≤10, 10.1-13.9, and ≥14 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1)). The ability of heart rate recovery at 1 minute (HRR1) and the minute ventilation/carbon dioxide output (VE/VCO2) slope to complement peak VO2 in predicting cardiovascular mortality were determined.

RESULTS: Peak VO2, HRR1 (<16 beats per minute), and the VE/VCO2 slope (>34) were independent predictors of mortality (hazard ratio 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2-2.29, P = .006; hazard ratio 1.7, 95% CI: 1.1-2.5, P = .008; and hazard ratio 2.4, 95% CI: 1.6-3.4, P < .001, respectively). Compared with those achieving a peak VO2 ≥ 14 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1), patients within the intermediate range with either an abnormal VE/VCO2 slope or HRR1 had a nearly 2-fold higher risk of cardiac mortality. Those with both an abnormal HRR1 and VE/VCO2 slope had a higher mortality risk than those with a peak VO2 ≤ 10 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1). Survival was not different between those with a peak VO2 ≤ 10 mL·kg(-1)·min(-1) and those in the intermediate range with either an abnormal HRR1 or VE/VCO2 slope.

CONCLUSIONS: HRR1 and the VE/VCO2 slope effectively stratify patients with peak VO2 within the intermediate range into distinct groups at high and low risk.

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