Vol 28, No 6 (2021)
Original Article
Published online: 2019-06-27

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Could autonomic nervous system parameters be still helpful in identifying patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction at the highest risk of all-cause mortality?

Damian Kaufmann1, Grzegorz Raczak1, Małgorzata Szwoch1, Dariusz Kozłowski1, Joanna Kwiatkowska2, Ewa Lewicka1, Ludmiła Daniłowicz-Szymanowicz1
Pubmed: 31257569
Cardiol J 2021;28(6):914-922.


Background: Autonomic imbalance is associated with poor prognosis of patients with systolic dysfunction. Most of the previous data were written several years ago and constituted to cardiovascular or arrhythmic mortality. The current treatment of these patients has improved substantially over the last decades, and thus, the population at risk of death may have altered as well. Consequently, data on high-risk patients with systolic dysfunction in the modern era are sparse and those from previous trials may no longer be applicable. The aim herein, was to verify whether well-known autonomic indices — baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) and heart rate variability (HRV) — remain accurate predictors of mortality in patients with systolic dysfunction.
Methods: Non-invasively obtained BRS and HRV were analyzed in 205 clinically stable patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤ 40%. 28 patients died within 28 ± 9 month follow-up.
Results: Baroreflex sensitivity, low-frequency (LF) in normalized units, LF to high-frequency ratio and standard deviation of average R-R intervals were significantly associated with mortality; cut-off values of the highest discriminatory power for abovementioned parameters were ≤ 3.0 ms/mmHg, ≤ 41, ≤ 0.7 and ≤ 25 ms, respectively. In bivariate Cox analyses (adjusted for LVEF, New York Heart Association [NYHA] or absence of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator [ICD]) autonomic indices remain significant predictors of death.
Conclusions: Baroreflex sensitivity and HRV — may still be helpful in identifying patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction at the highest risk of all-cause mortality, independently of LVEF, NYHA class, and ICD implantation.

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