OBJECTIVES: The goals of this study were: 1) to assess the predictive value of baseline mitral flow pattern (MFP) and its changes after loading manipulations as regards tolerance to and effectiveness of beta-adrenergic blocking agent treatment in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF); and 2) to analyze the prognostic implications of chronic MFP modifications after beta-blocker treatment. BACKGROUND: In patients with CHF, carvedilol therapy induces clinical and hemodynamic improvements. Individual management, clinical effectiveness and prognostic implications, however, remain unclear. The MFP changes induced by loading manipulations provide independent prognostic information. METHODS: Echo-Doppler was performed at baseline and after loading manipulations in 116 consecutive patients with CHF (left ventricular ejection fraction: 25 ± 7%); 54 patients with a baseline restrictive MFP were given nitroprusside infusion; 62 patients with a baseline nonrestrictive MFP performed passive leg lifting. According to changes in MFP, we identified four groups: 17 with irreversible restrictive MFP (Irr-rMFP), 37 with reversible restrictive MFP (Rev-rMFP), 12 with unstable nonrestrictive MFP (Un-nrMFP) and 50 with stable nonrestrictive MFP (Sta-nrMFP). Carvedilol therapy (44 ± 27 mg) was administered blind to results of loading maneuvers. After six months, MFP was reassessed and patients reclassified according to chronic MFP changes. During follow-up, tolerance to and effectiveness of treatment and major cardiac events (death, readmission and urgent transplantation) were considered. RESULTS: Changes of MFP after loading manipulations were more accurate than baseline MFP in predicting both tolerance to (p <0.01) and effectiveness of (p <0.05) carvedilol. After 26 ± 14 months of follow-up, cardiac events had occurred in 23/102 patients (23%). The event rate in patients with chronic Irr-rMFP or Un-nrMFP was markedly higher than it was in those with Rev-rMFP or Sta-nrMFP. CONCLUSIONS: In our patients, tolerance to and effectiveness of carvedilol was predicted better by echo-Doppler MFP changes after loading manipulations than by baseline MFP. Chronic changes of MFP after therapy are strong predictors of major cardiac events.
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