New York Heart Association functional class predicts exercise parameters in the current era.
BACKGROUND: The New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class is a subjective estimate of a patient's functional ability based on symptoms that do not always correlate with the objective estimate of functional capacity, peak oxygen consumption (peak V(O2)). In addition, relationships between these 2 measurements have not been examined in the current medical era when patients are using beta-blockers, aldosterone antagonists, and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). Using baseline data from the HF-ACTION (Heart Failure and A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise TraiNing) study, we examined this relationship. METHODS: One thousand seven hundred fifty-eight patients underwent a symptom-limited metabolic stress test and stopped exercise due to dyspnea or fatigue. The relationship between NYHA functional class and peak V(O2) was examined. In addition, the effects of beta-blockers, aldosterone antagonists, and CRT therapy on these relationships were compared. RESULTS: The NYHA II patients have a significantly higher peak Vo(2) (16.1 +/- 4.6 vs 13.0 +/- 4.2 mL/kg per minute), a lower ventilation (Ve)/V(CO2) slope (32.8 +/- 7.7 vs 36.8 +/- 10.4), and a longer duration of exercise (11.0 +/- 3.9 vs 8.0 +/- 3.4 minutes) than NYHA III/IV patients. Within each functional class, there was no difference in any of the exercise parameters between patients on or off of beta-blockers, aldosterone antagonists, or CRT therapy. Finally, with increasing age, a significant difference in peak Vo(2), Ve/V(CO2) slope, and exercise time was found. CONCLUSION: For patients being treated with current medical therapy, there still is a difference in true functional capacity between NYHA functional class II and III/IV patients. However, within each NYHA functional class, the presence or absence or contemporary heart failure therapies does not alter exercise parameters.
Russell, SD; Saval, MA; Robbins, JL; Ellestad, MH; Gottlieb, SS; Handberg, EM; Zhou, Y; Chandler, B; HF-ACTION Investigators,
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