In hospitalized patients with a clinical diagnosis of acute heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), the aims of this study were (i) to assess the proportion meeting the 2016 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) HFpEF criteria and (ii) to compare patients with restrictive/pseudonormal mitral inflow pattern (MIP) vs. patients with MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal.
We included hospitalized participants of the ESC-Heart Failure Association (HFA) EURObservational Research Programme (EORP) HF Long-Term Registry who had echocardiogram with ejection fraction (EF) ≥ 50% during index hospitalization. As no data on e’, E/e’ and left ventricular (LV) mass index were gathered in the registry, the 2016 ESC HFpEF definition was modified as follows: elevated B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) (≥100 pg/mL for acute HF) and/or N-terminal pro-BNP (≥300 pg/mL) and at least one of the echocardiographic criteria: (i) presence of LV hypertrophy (yes/no), (ii) left atrial volume index (LAVI) of >34 mL/m ), or (iii) restrictive/pseudonormal MIP. Next, all patients were divided into four groups: (i) patients with restrictive/pseudonormal MIP on echocardiography [i.e. with presumably elevated left atrial (LA) pressure], (ii) patients with MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal (i.e. with presumably normal LA pressure), (iii) atrial fibrillation (AF) group, and (iv) ‘grey area’ (no consistent description of MIP despite no report of AF). Of 6365 hospitalized patients, 1848 (29%) had EF ≥ 50%. Natriuretic peptides were assessed in 28%, LV hypertrophy in 92%, LAVI in 13%, and MIP in 67%. The 2016 ESC HFpEF criteria could be assessed in 27% of the 1848 patients and, if assessed, were met in 52%. Of the 1848 patients, 19% had restrictive/pseudonormal MIP, 43% had MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal, 18% had AF and 20% were grey area. There were no differences in long-term all-cause or cardiovascular mortality, or all-cause hospitalizations or HF rehospitalizations between the four groups. Despite fewer non-cardiac comorbidities reported at baseline, patients with MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal (i.e. with presumably normal LA pressure) had more non-cardiovascular (14.0 vs. 6.7 per 100 patient-years, P < 0.001) and cardiovascular non-HF (13.2 vs. 8.0 per 100 patient-years, P = 0.016) hospitalizations in long-term follow-up than patients with restrictive/pseudonormal MIP.
Acute HFpEF diagnosis could be assessed (based on the 2016 ESC criteria) in only a quarter of patients and confirmed in half of these. When assessed, only one in three patients had restrictive/pseudonormal MIP suggestive of elevated LA pressure. Patients with MIP other than restrictive/pseudonormal (suggestive of normal LA pressure) could have been misdiagnosed with acute HFpEF or had echocardiography performed after normalization of LA pressure. They were more often hospitalized for non-HF reasons during follow-up. Symptoms suggestive of acute HFpEF may in some patients represent non-HF comorbidities.

© 2020 The Authors. ESC Heart Failure published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.