Diastolic dysfunction and abnormal exercise ventilation predict adverse outcome in elderly patients with chronic systolic heart failure

Gabriella Malfatto, Giovanna Branzi, Alessia Giglio, Francesca Ciambellotti, Alessandra Villani, Gianfranco Parati, Mario Facchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Heart failure is increasing in the elderly and represents a socioeconomic burden requiring the correct management for which risk stratification is mandatory. Among younger patients, echocardiogram and cardiopulmonary exercise test are useful in prognostic stratification. Few studies have analyzed the utility of these tests in elderly patients.Methods: We report on 90 patients over 70 years old, on whom cardiopulmonary tests and echocardiograms were performed between 1998 and 2006 (67 M, 23 F; 75 ± 3 years; ejection fraction (EF) 30 ± 6%; NYHA 2.1 ± 0.8; 60% ischemic; therapy according to international guidelines). Echocardiographic variables were (1) left ventricular ejection fraction (EF); (2) severity of diastolic dysfunction on multiparametric examination of Doppler and TDI parameters; (3) severity of functional mitral regurgitation. Cardiopulmonary variables were (1) peak VO2; (2) peak O2 pulse; (3) peak respiratory quotient (RQ); (4) VE/VCO2 slope. Endpoint considered was mortality of any cause at three-years follow-up.Results: Mortality was 21%. At univariate analysis, survivors (n = 71) and deceased (n = 19) were similar for age, NYHA class, peakVO2 and RQ; they differed for EF, severity of mitral regurgitation, severity of diastolic dysfunction, O2 pulse and VE/VCO2 slope. At multivariate analysis, only VE/VCO2 slope and severe diastolic dysfunction (restrictive filling pattern) discriminated between the two groups. In particular, the association of restrictive filling pattern and VE/VCO2 slope ≥ 45 predicted 3-year mortality with sensitivity of 84% and specificity of 88%.Conclusions: Echocardiographic and cardiopulmonary data can identify high-risk elderly patients with systolic heart failure, who may need aggressive clinical management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-403
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • cardiopulmonary test
  • Chronic heart failure
  • diastolic function
  • elderly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Epidemiology


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