Exercise intolerance in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) or heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) results from both cardiac dysfunction and skeletal muscle weakness. Respiratory muscle dysfunction with restrictive ventilation disorder may be present irrespective of left ventricular ejection fraction and might be mediated by circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines.
To determine lung and respiratory muscle function in patients with HFrEF/HFpEF and to determine its associations with exercise intolerance and markers of systemic inflammation.
Adult patients with HFrEF (n = 22, 19 male, 61 ± 14 years) and HFpEF (n = 8, 7 male, 68 ± 8 years) and 19 matched healthy control subjects underwent spirometry, measurement of maximum mouth occlusion pressures, diaphragm ultrasound, and recording of transdiaphragmatic and gastric pressures following magnetic stimulation of the phrenic nerves and the lower thoracic nerve roots. New York Heart Association (NYHA) class and 6-min walking distance (6MWD) were used to quantify exercise intolerance. Levels of circulating interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were measured using ELISAs.
Compared with controls, both patient groups showed lower forced vital capacity (FVC) (p < 0.05), maximum inspiratory pressure (PImax), maximum expiratory pressure (PEmax) (p < 0.05), diaphragm thickening ratio (p = 0.01), and diaphragm strength (twitch transdiaphragmatic pressure in response to supramaximal cervical magnetic phrenic nerve stimulation) (p = 0.01). In patients with HFrEF, NYHA class and 6MWD were both inversely correlated with FVC, PImax, and PEmax. In those with HFpEF, there was an inverse correlation between amino terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide levels and FVC (r = -0.77, p = 0.04). In all HF patients, IL-6 and TNF-α were statistically related to FVC.
Irrespective of left ventricular ejection fraction, HF is associated with respiratory muscle dysfunction, which is associated with increased levels of circulating IL-6 and TNF-α.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.