Sacubitril/Valsartan Improves Autonomic Function and Cardiopulmonary Parameters in Patients with Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction

Francesco Giallauria, Giuseppe Vitale, Mario Pacileo, Anna Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Oliviero, Francesco Passaro, Roberta Calce, Alessandro Parlato, Crescenzo Testa, Giuseppe D'Ambrosio, Giuseppe Romano, Francesco Clemenza, Silvia Sarullo, Elio Venturini, Marco Gentile, Cinzia Nugara, Gabriella Iannuzzo, Antonello D'Andrea, Carlo Vigorito, Filippo M Sarullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Heart rate recovery (HRR) is a marker of vagal tone, which is a powerful predictor of mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease. Sacubitril/valsartan (S/V) is a treatment for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), which impressively impacts cardiovascular outcome. This study aims at evaluating the effects of S/V on HRR and its correlation with cardiopulmonary indexes in HFrEF patients.

METHODS: Patients with HFrEF admitted to outpatients' services were screened out for study inclusion. S/V was administered according to guidelines. Up-titration was performed every 4 weeks when tolerated. All patients underwent laboratory measurements, Doppler-echocardiography, and cardiopulmonary exercise stress testing (CPET) at baseline and at 12-month follow-up.

RESULTS: Study population consisted of 134 HFrEF patients (87% male, mean age 57.9 ± 9.6 years). At 12-month follow-up, significant improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction (from 28% ± 5.8% to 31.8% ± 7.3%, p < 0.0001), peak exercise oxygen consumption (VO2peak) (from 15.3 ± 3.7 to 17.8 ± 4.2 mL/kg/min, p < 0.0001), the slope of increase in ventilation over carbon dioxide output (VE/VCO2 slope )(from 33.4 ± 6.2 to 30.3 ± 6.5, p < 0.0001), and HRR (from 11.4 ± 9.5 to 17.4 ± 15.1 bpm, p = 0.004) was observed. Changes in HRR were significantly correlated to changes in VE/VCO2slope (r = -0.330; p = 0.003). After adjusting for potential confounding factors, multivariate analysis showed that changes in HRR were significantly associated to changes in VE/VCO2slope (Beta (B) = -0.975, standard error (SE) = 0.364, standardized Beta coefficient (Bstd) = -0.304, p = 0.009). S/V showed significant reduction in exercise oscillatory ventilation (EOV) detection at CPET (28 EOV detected at baseline CPET vs. 9 EOV detected at 12-month follow-up, p < 0.001). HRR at baseline CPET was a significant predictor of EOV at 12-month follow-up (B = -2.065, SE = 0.354, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: In HFrEF patients, S/V therapy improves autonomic function, functional capacity, and ventilation. Whether these findings might translate into beneficial effects on prognosis and outcome remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 17 2020


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