Markers of Decongestion, Dyspnea Relief, and Clinical Outcomes Among Patients Hospitalized With Acute Heart Failure
McNulty, S. E.
Hernandez, A. F.
Lee, K. L.
Redfield, M. M.
Tracy, R. P.
O, C. M.
Felker, G. M.
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CitationKociol, R. D., S. E. McNulty, A. F. Hernandez, K. L. Lee, M. M. Redfield, R. P. Tracy, E. Braunwald, C. M. O’Connor, and G. M. Felker. 2012. “Markers of Decongestion, Dyspnea Relief, and Clinical Outcomes Among Patients Hospitalized With Acute Heart Failure.” Circulation: Heart Failure 6 (2) (December 18): 240–245. doi:10.1161/circheartfailure.112.969246.
Congestion is a primary driver of symptoms in patients with acute heart failure (AHF), and relief of congestion is a critical goal of therapy. Monitoring of response to therapy through the assessment of daily weights and net fluid loss is the current standard of care, yet the relationship between commonly used markers of decongestion and both patient reported symptom relief and clinical outcomes are unknown.
Methods and Results
We performed a retrospective analysis of the randomized clinical trial -Diuretic Optimization Strategy Evaluation in Acute Heart Failure (DOSE-AHF), enrolling patients hospitalized with a diagnosis of acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF). We assessed the relationship between 3 markers of decongestion at 72 hours—weight loss, net fluid loss and % reduction in serum NT-proBNP level—and relief of symptoms as defined by the dyspnea visual analog scale area under the curve (VAS AUC). We also determined the relationship between each marker of decongestion and 60-day clinical outcomes defined as time to death, first re-hospitalization or ER visit. Mean age was 66 years, mean EF was 35% and 27% had EF ≥50%. Of the 3 measures of decongestion assessed, only % reduction in NT-proBNP was significantly associated with symptom relief (r=0.13, P = 0.04). There was no correlation between either weight loss or net fluid loss and symptom relief, (r=0.04, P=0.54 and r=0.07, P=0.27, respectively). Favorable changes in each of the 3 markers of decongestion were associated with improvement in time to death, re-hospitalization or ED visit at 60 days [weight: HR 0.91 (95% confidence interval 0.85, 0.97) per 4 lbs. weight lost; fluid HR 0.94 (0.90, 0.99) per 1000mL fluid loss; NT-proBNP HR 0.95 (0.91, 0.99) per 10% reduction]. These associations were unchanged after multivariable adjustment with the exception that % reduction in NT-proBNP was no longer a significant predictor (HR 0.97; 0.93, 1.02). Patients with 2 or 3 markers of decongestion (above the median value for each marker) had improved clinical outcomes versus those with 0 or 1 marker above the median value (39.0% versus 53.8%; P=0.03).
Weight loss, fluid loss and NT-proBNP reduction at 72 hours are poorly correlated with dyspnea relief. However, favorable improvements in each of the 3 markers were associated with improved clinical outcomes at 60 days. These data suggest the need for ongoing research to understand the relationships between symptom relief, congestion, and outcomes in patients with ADHF.
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