Epidemiology and diagnosis of heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction: rationale and design of the study

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AimsDespite major advances in our understanding of ‘systolic’ heart failure, at present the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and therapy of heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (HFpEF) is poorly understood, in large part because of the lack of robust and widely accepted diagnostic criteria. Although there is a good evidence base for the treatment of systolic heart failure, similar data are lacking for the treatment of HFpEF.MethodsIn our study, we will screen a consecutive series of 5000 subjects aged ≥60 from the community. Following symptom questionnaire and echocardiography, metabolic exercise testing will be used to confirm whether or not patients thought clinically to have HFpEF are in fact exercise limited and that this limitation is cardiac in origin. Blood samples for plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) will be taken at rest and following exercise in symptomatic patients and matching controls.ConclusionsAt the end of our study we will establish community prevalence and population characteristics of HFpEF, and also evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of current echocardiography parameters and BNP for the diagnosis of the condition.

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