Exercise Echocardiography in Asymptomatic or Minimally Symptomatic HCM: Exercise Capacity, and Not Rest or Exercise LV Outflow Tract Gradients Predicts Long-Term Outcomes

OBJECTIVES: We sought to assess long-term outcomes in asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) who underwent exercise echocardiography, without invasive therapies for relief of left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) obstruction. Many HCM patients present with LVOT obstruction, mitral regurgitation (MR), and diastolic dysfunction, often requiring invasive therapies for symptomatic relief.  However, a significant proportion of truly asymptomatic patients can be closely monitored.  In HCM patients, exercise echocardiography has been shown to be a useful assessment of functional capacity and risk stratification.

METHODS: We included 426 HCM patients (44 ± 14 years; 78% men) undergoing exercise echocardiography, excluding hypertensive heart disease of elderly, ejection fraction <50% and invasive therapy (myectomy or alcohol ablation) during follow-up.  Clinical, echocardiographic (LV thickness, LVOT gradient, and MR) and exercise variables (percent of age-sex predicted metabolic equivalents [METs] and heart rate recovery [HRR] at 1 min post-exercise) were recorded.  A composite endpoint of death, appropriate internal defibrillator discharge, and admission for congestive heart failure was recorded.

RESULTS: Patients were asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic on history, but 82% of patients achieved <100% of age-sex predicted METs, and 43% had ≥II+ post-stress MR.  The mean LV septal thickness, post-exercise LVOT gradient, and HRR were 2.0 ± 0.5 cm, 62 ± 47 mm Hg, and 31 ± 14 beats/min, respectively.  During a mean follow-up of 8.7 ± 3 years, there were 52 events (12%).  Patients achieving >100% of age-sex predicted METs had 1% event rate versus 12% in those achieving <85%.  On stepwise multivariate survival analysis, percent of age-sex predicted METs (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.64 to 0.90), abnormal HRR (HR: 0.89; 95% CI: 0.82 to 0.97), and atrial fibrillation (HR: 2.73; 95% CI: 1.30 to 5.74) (overall, p < 0.001) independently predicted outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: In asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic HCM patients, exercise stress testing provides excellent risk stratification, with a low event rate in patients achieving >100% of predicted METs. 

PMID: 24290569

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