Validation of Noninvasive Measurement of Cardiac Output Using Inert Gas Rebreathing in a Cohort of Patients With Heart Failure and Reduced Ejection Fraction

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Cardiac output (CO) is a key indicator of cardiac function in patients with heart failure. No completely accurate method is available for measuring CO in all patients. The objective of this study was to validate CO measurement using the inert gas rebreathing (IGR) method against other noninvasive and invasive methods of CO quantification in a cohort of patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.

Methods and Results—

The study included 97 patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (age 42±15.5 years; 64 patients (65.9%) had idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and 21 patients (21.6%) had ischemic heart disease). Median left ventricle ejection fraction was 24% (10%–36%). Patients with atrial fibrillation were excluded. CO was measured using 4 methods (IGR, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, cardiac catheterization, and echocardiography) and indexed to body surface area (cardiac index [CI]). All studies were performed within 48 hours. Median CI measured by IGR was 1.75, by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was 1.82, by cardiac catheterization was 1.65, and by echo was 1.7 L·min−1·m−2. There were significant modest linear correlations between IGR-derived CI and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging–derived CI (r=0.7; P<0.001), as well as cardiac catheterization–derived CI (r=0.6; P<0.001). Using Bland–Altman analysis, the agreement between the IGR method and the other methods was as good as the agreement between any 2 other methods with each other.


The IGR method is a simple, accurate, and reproducible noninvasive method for quantification of CO in patients with advanced heart failure. The prognostic value of this simple measurement needs to be studied prospectively.

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