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Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is a cytokine highly expressed in states of inflammatory stress. We aimed to study the clinical correlates and prognostic significance of plasma GDF15 in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) vs. reduced ejection fraction(HFrEF), compared with N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), an indicator of haemodynamic wall stress.Plasma GDF15 and NT-proBNP were prospectively measured in 916 consecutive patients with HFrEF (EF <50%; n = 730) and HFpEF (EF ≥50%; n = 186), and measured again at 6 months in 488 patients. Patients were followed up for a composite outcome of death or first HF rehospitalization.Median GDF15baseline values were similarly elevated in HFpEF [2862 (1812 represent the 25th percentile and 4176 represent the 75th percentile) ng/L] and HFrEF [2517 (1555, 4030) ng/L] (P = 0.184), whereas NT-proBNP was significantly lower in HFpEF than HFrEF (1119 ng/L vs. 2335 ng/L, P < 0.001). Independent correlates of GDF15baseline were age, systolic blood pressure, New York Heart Association (NYHA) class, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, sodium, haemoglobin, creatinine, diuretic therapy, high sensitivity troponin T (hsTnT) and NT-proBNP (all P < 0.05). During a median follow-up of 23 months, there were 379 events (307 HFrEF, 72 HFpEF). GDF15 remained a significant independent predictor for composite outcome even after adjusting for important clinical predictors including hsTnT and NT-proBNP (adjusted hazard ratio 1.76 per 1 Ln U, 95% confidence interval 1.39–2.21; P < 0.001), regardless of HF group (Pinteraction= 0.275). GDF15baseline provided incremental prognostic value when added to clinical predictors, hsTnT and NT-proBNP (area under receiver operating characteristic curve increased from 0.720 to 0.740, P < 0.019), with a net reclassification improvement of 0.183 (P = 0.004). Patients with ≥20% GDF156months increase had higher risk for composite outcome (adjusted hazard ratio 1.68, 95% confidence interval 1.15–2.45; P = 0.007) compared with those with GDF156months within ± 20% of baseline.The similarly elevated levels and independent prognostic utility of GDF15 in HFrEF and HFpEF suggest that beyond haemodynamic stress (NT-proBNP), inflammatory injury (GDF15) may play an important role in both HF syndromes.