The purpose of this study was to investigate the prognostic impact of the changes in ventriculo-arterial (VA) coupling during dobutamine stress on the cardiovascular events for patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).Methods and results
For this study, 89 DCM patients with ejection fractions of 32 ± 10% and 30 normal controls were recruited. Ees was estimated with the non-invasive single-beat method using three-dimensional echocardiography at rest and during dobutamine stress (20 μg/kg/min). Effective arterial elastance (Ea) was calculated as left ventricular (LV) end-systolic pressure divided by stroke volume, and VA coupling was calculated as Ea/Ees. Event-free survival was then tracked for 32 months. At baseline, VA coupling was far from optimal in patients with DCM compared with controls (Ea/Ees: 2.49 ± 1.02 vs. 1.04 ± 0.21, P < 0.001). During the follow-up period, 22 patients developed adverse cardiovascular events. During dobutamine stress, VA coupling was significantly improved in patients without cardiovascular events (from 2.47 ± 1.09 to 1.59 ± 0.68, P < 0.001), but remained unchanged in those with cardiovascular events. A multivariate Cox proportional-hazards analysis revealed that age, NYHA functional class (>II), and the change in VA coupling during dobutamine stress were the independent determinants of cardiovascular events (P < 0.05, <0.01, and <0.001, respectively). When patients were divided into two subgroups based on the finding of receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, patients with good VA coupling reserve (cut-off: change in VA coupling> 0.29) showed significantly favourable event-free survival than those with poor VA coupling reserve (P < 0.001).Conclusions
Improvement in VA coupling during dobutamine stress is an important determinant of cardiovascular outcome for patients with DCM.