Heart 91:489-494 doi:10.1136/hrt.2003.031922
  • Cardiovascular medicine

Heart failure in patients with preserved and deteriorated left ventricular ejection fraction

  1. A Varela-Roman,
  2. L Grigorian,
  3. E Barge,
  4. P Bassante,
  5. M G de la Peña,
  6. J R Gonzalez-Juanatey
  1. Clinical University Hospital, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr J R Gonzalez-Juanatey
    Clinical University Hospital, Santiago de Compostela 15706, Spain;
  • Accepted 2 June 2004


Objectives: To determine clinical and prognostic differences between preserved and deteriorated systolic function (defined as left ventricular (LV) ejection fractions ⩾ 50% and < 50%, respectively) in patients with heart failure satisfying modified Framingham criteria.

Patients and methods: Records were studied of 1252 patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) (mean (SD) age 69.4 (11.7) years; 485 women, 767 men) who had been admitted to a cardiology service for CHF in the period 1991–2002 and whose LV systolic function had been echocardiographically evaluated within two weeks of admission. Data were collected on the main clinical findings, supplementary examinations, treatment, and duration of hospitalisation. Whether the patient was alive in the spring of 2003 was evaluated by searching the general archives of the hospital and by telephone survey.

Results: LV systolic function was preserved in 39.8% of patients. Age, female to male sex ratio, and prevalence of atrial fibrillation, valve disease, and other non-ischaemic, non-dilated cardiopathies were all significantly greater in the group with preserved systolic function. New York Heart Association functional class IV, third heart sound, jugular vein congestion, cardiomegaly, radiological signs of lung oedema, pathological Q waves, left bundle branch block, sinus rhythm, ischaemic cardiopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy were all significantly more prevalent in the group with deteriorated systolic function, as was treatment with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and most other antihypertensive drugs on discharge from hospital. There was no significant difference in survival between the groups with preserved and deteriorated systolic function (either survival regardless of age at admission or in subgroups aged < 75 and ⩾ 75 years at admission). In the whole group, survival rates after one, three, and five years were 84.0%, 66.7%, and 50.9%, respectively.

Conclusion: In view of the poor prognosis of patients with CHF with preserved LV systolic function, who are currently treated empirically, it is to be hoped that relevant controlled clinical trials under way will afford information allowing optimisation of their treatment.