Background: Many patients with heart failure (HF) with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) experience improvement or recovery of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Data on clinical characteristics, outcomes, and medical therapy in patients with HF with improved ejection fraction (HFiEF) are scarce. Methods and Results: Of 5625 consecutive patients hospitalized for acute HF in the KorAHF (Registry [Prospective Cohort] for Heart Failure in Korea) study, 5103 patients had baseline echocardiography and 2302 patients had follow-up echocardiography at 12 months. HF phenotypes were defined as persistent HFrEF (LVEF ≤40% at baseline and at 1-year follow-up), HFiEF (LVEF ≤40% at baseline and improved up to 40% at 1-year follow-up), HF with midrange ejection fraction (LVEF between 40% and <50%), and HF with preserved ejection fraction (LVEF ≥50%). The primary outcome was 4-year all-cause mortality from the time of HFiEF diagnosis. Among 1509 HFrEF patients who had echocardiography 1 year after index hospitalization, 720 (31.3%) were diagnosed as having HFiEF. Younger age, female sex, de novo HF, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and β-blocker use were positive predictors and diabetes mellitus and ischemic heart disease were negative predictors of HFiEF. During 4-year follow-up, patients with HFiEF showed lower mortality than those with persistent HFrEF in univariate, multivariate, and propensity-score–matched analyses. β-Blockers, but not renin–angiotensin system inhibitors or mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, were associated with a reduced all-cause mortality risk (hazard ratio: 0.59; 95% CI, 0.40–0.87; P=0.007). Benefits for outcome seemed similar among patients receiving low- or high-dose β-blockers (log-rank, P=0.304). Conclusions: HFiEF is a distinct HF phenotype with better clinical outcomes than other phenotypes. The use of β-blockers may be beneficial for these patients. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01389843.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine