Background: Oxygen uptake at the anaerobic threshold (VO2AT), a submaximal exercise-derived variable, independent of patients' motivation, is a marker of outcome in heart failure (HF). However, previous evidence of VO2AT values paradoxically higher in HF patients with permanent atrial fibrillation (AF) than in those with sinus rhythm (SR) raised uncertainties. Design: We tested the prognostic role of VO2AT in a large cohort of systolic HF patients, focusing on possible differences between SR and AF. Methods: Altogether 2976 HF patients (2578 with SR and 398 with AF) were prospectively followed. Besides a clinical examination, each patient underwent a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET). Results: The follow-up was analysed for up to 1500 days. Cardiovascular death or urgent cardiac transplantation occurred in 303 patients (250 (9.6%) patients with SR and 53 (13.3%) patients with AF, p=0.023). In the entire population, multivariate analysis including peak oxygen uptake (VO2) showed a prognostic capacity (C-index) similar to that obtained including VO2AT (0.76 vs 0.72). Also, left ventricular ejection fraction, ventilation vs carbon dioxide production slope, β-blocker and digoxin therapy proved to be significant prognostic indexes. The receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves analysis showed that the best predictive VO2AT cut-off for the SR group was 11.7 ml/kg/min, while it was 12.8 ml/kg/min for the AF group. Conclusions: VO2AT, a submaximal CPET-derived parameter, is reliable for long-term cardiovascular mortality prognostication in stable systolic HF. However, different VO2AT cut-off values between SR and AF HF patients should be adopted.
- anaerobic threshold
- atrial fibrillation
- Heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine