Rest echocardiography plays a role in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) diagnosis and risk stratification because left atrial enlargement, severe left ventricle (LV) hypertrophy, and rest LV outflow tract (LVOT) gradients ≥50 mmHg are sudden cardiac death risk factors that have been highlighted in recent guidelines. Conversely, the lack of evidence makes that exercise-echocardiography findings play a limited role. In clinical practice, LVOT gradient, but also mitral regurgitation (MR) or pulmonary pressure, seems relevant parameters to look for, during the exercise. Therefore, we sought to determine whether exercise-induced changes in myocardial and valvular functions could improve HCM risk stratification.Methods and results
Consecutive primitive HCM patients with a preserved LV ejection fraction underwent standardized exercise echocardiography (including the assessment of myocardial function, dynamic left intraventricular gradient, and valvular regurgitations) at baseline and were clinically followed for a median of 29.3 months. The primary endpoint was a composite criterion that included death from any cause, cardiorespiratory arrest, and hospitalization for a cardiovascular event. A total of 126 patients were included. Eighteen patients reached the primary endpoint. According to univariate Cox regression analysis, exercise LVOT gradient ≥50 mmHg [hazard ratio (HR) = 3.31, P = 0.01] and significant (≥2/4) exercise MR (HR = 3.64, P < 0.01) were associated with the primary endpoint. Patients with significant MR had significantly higher rest and exercise LVOT gradients (P = 0.001 and P = 0.001) and larger left atria volumes (P < 0.001).Conclusion
Significant exercise-induced MR appears to significantly impact the prognoses of HCM patients, and it is also associated with higher LVOT rest and exercise gradients.