N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide-guided management in patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction: findings from the Trial of Intensified versus standard medical therapy in elderly patients with congestive heart failure (TIME-CHF)

Micha T Maeder, Peter Rickenbacher, Hans Rickli, Heidi Abbühl, Marc Gutmann, Paul Erne, André Vuilliomenet, Martin Peter, Matthias Pfisterer, Hans-Peter Brunner-La Rocca
European Journal of Heart Failure 2013, 15 (10): 1148-56

AIMS: To assess the effects of an NT-proBNP-guided medical management on 18-month outcomes in patients with heart failure (HF) and preserved LVEF ( HFpEF).

METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with HFpEF (LVEF >45%; n = 123) and HF with reduced LVEF (HFrEF; LVEF ≤45%; n = 499) with age ≥60 years, NYHA class ≥ II, and elevated NT-proBNP (>400 ng/L or >800 ng/L depending on age) were randomized to medical therapy titrated only to reduce symptoms to NYHA ≤II (symptom-guided) or also to reduce NT-proBNP below the inclusion threshold (NT-proBNP-guided) during a 6-month period. Patients were followed for an additional 12 months. Despite similar treatment escalation, NT-proBNP reduction and symptom relief were less in HFpEF than in HFrEF. Hospitalization-free survival at 18 months was worse in HFpEF than in HFrEF (P = 0.02), while survival and HF hospitalization-free survival did not differ. Among HFpEF patients, NT-proBNP reduction and symptom relief were similar in the symptom-guided (n = 59) and NT-proBNP-guided (n = 64) group despite more aggressive treatment in the NT-proBNP-guided group. In contrast to effects in HFrEF, NT-proBNP-guided management tended to worsen 18-month outcomes in HFpEF, with P-values for the interactions between LVEF stratum and management strategy of 0.2 for hospitalization-free survival, 0.03 for survival, and 0.01 for HF hospitalization-free survival.

CONCLUSIONS: Outcomes in HFpEF were not better than in HFrEF, and opposite effects of NT-proBNP-guided management were observed in HFpEF compared with HFrEF. These preliminary findings suggest that, in contrast to HFrEF, NT-proBNP-guided therapy may not be beneficial in HFpEF. Trial registration ISRCTN43596477.

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