The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of a comprehensive imaging protocol including echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance in the diagnosis and differentiation of hypertensive heart disease and heart failure with preserved ejectionfraction (HFpEF).
Hypertension is present in up to 90% of patients with HFpEF and is a major etiological component. Despite current recommendations and diagnostic criteria for HFpEF, no noninvasive imaging technique has as yet shown the ability to identify any structural differences between patients with hypertensive heart disease and HFpEF.
We conducted a prospective cross-sectional study of 112 well-characterized patients (62 with HFpEF, 22 with hypertension, and 28 healthy control subjects). All patients underwent cardiopulmonary exercise and biomarker testing and an imaging protocol including echocardiography with speckle-tracking analysis and cardiac magnetic resonance including T1 mapping pre- and post-contrast.
Echocardiographic global longitudinal strain (GLS) and extracellular volume (ECV) measured by cardiac magnetic resonancewere the only variables able to independently stratify among the 3 groups of patients. ECV was the best technique for differentiation between hypertensive heart disease and HFpEF (ECV area under the curve: 0.88; GLS area under the curve: 0.78; p < 0.001 for both). Using ECV, an optimal cutoff of 31.2% gave 100% sensitivity and 75% specificity. ECV was significantly higher and GLS was significantly reduced in subjects with reduced exercise capacity (lower peak oxygen consumption and higher minute ventilation-carbon dioxide production) (p < 0.001 for both ECV and GLS).
Both GLS and ECV are able to independently discriminate between hypertensive heart disease and HFpEF and identify patients with prognostically significant functional limitation. ECV is the best diagnostic discriminatory marker of HFpEF and could be used as a surrogate endpoint for therapeutic studies.