Titration of evidence-based medications, important for treating heart failure (HF), is often underdosed by symptom-guided treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate, using echocardiographic parameters, stroke volume and left ventricular (LV) filling pressure to guide up-titration of medications, increasing prognostic benefits.Methods
A total of 765 patients with chronic HF and severely reduced LV ejection fractions (<35%), referred from 2008 to 2016, were prospectively studied. Echocardiographic guidance was performed in 149 patients. LV filling pressure was assessed by left atrial expansion index, and stroke volume was estimated from diameter and time-velocity integral in the LV outflow tract. Up-titration of evidence-based medications and adjustment for side effects or worsening clinical conditions according to those parameters were performed. Propensity score matching was used to match pairs of patients with (n = 110) or without (n = 110) echocardiographic guidance. End points were 4-year frequencies of HF hospitalization and all-cause mortality.Results
During a mean follow-up time of 4.1 years, rates of adverse events were 58 (52.7%) with no echocardiographic guidance and 36 (32.7%) with echocardiographic guidance (P < .0001). Echocardiography provided effective guidance to reduce prescribing frequency and dose of diuretics and to promote evidence-based medication prescription. It reduced HF rehospitalization and all-cause mortality. By multivariate analysis, prognostic improvement was associated with up-titration of medications with echocardiographic guidance.Conclusions
There was a statistically significant difference in long-term prognosis between propensity score–matched pairs of patients with chronic severe HF with and without echocardiographic guidance. These findings need further validation in large prospective clinical trials.