Prognostic impact of heart rate in elderly with systolic heart failure and concomitant atrial fibrillation

Salim Barywani, Max Petzold
Scandinavian Cardiovascular Journal: SCJ 2017, 51 (4): 190-196

OBJECTIVE: The present study aimed to investigate the impact of resting heart rate (HR) on 5-year all-cause mortality in patients ≥80 years with heart failure (HF) with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and concomitant atrial fibrillation (AF) after optimal up-titration of beta-blockers (BBs).

METHODS: Patients (n = 185) aged ≥80 years with HF and left ventricular ejection fraction ≤40% were included between January 2000 and January 2008 from two university hospitals, Sahlgrenska and Östra and retrospectively studied from January 2 to May 30, 2013. Up-titrations of guideline recommended medications were performed at HF outpatient clinics.

RESULTS: Of whole study population, 54% (n= 100) had AF. After optimal up-titration of BBs and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs)/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), mean HR in patients with AF was 73 ± 15 beats/minute (bpm), 36% had resting HR ≤65 bpm. Five-year all-cause mortality among patients with AF was significantly lower in patients with HR ≤65 bpm (63%) compared to HR >65 (80%). Cox proportional-hazard regression analysis adjusted for clinically important baseline variables and doses of ACEIs/ARBs and BBs demonstrated resting HR ≤65 bpm as an independent predictor of improved survival compared to resting HR >65 bpm (HR 0.3, 95%CI 0.1-0.7, P 0.005).

DISCUSSION: In octogenarians with HFrEF and concomitant AF, lowering resting HR to levels as low as HR ≤65 bpm was still associated with improved survival from all-cause mortality. Our data indicate that mortality in AF became comparable to SR when patients were on maximally up-titrated beta-blocker doses with HR as low as 75 bpm.

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