Author + information
- Received December 13, 1994
- Revision received March 9, 1995
- Accepted March 14, 1995
- Published online August 1, 1995.
- John R. Wilson, MD, FACC1,
- Glenn Rayos, MD,
- Tiong-Keat Yeoh, MD and
- Patricia Gothard, RN
- ↵1Address for correspondence: Dr. John R. Wilson, Cardiology Division, RM CC-2218 MCN, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-2170.
Objectives. The purpose of this study was to determine how often peak exercise oxygen consumption (Vo2) misclassifies the severity of cardiac dysfunction in potential heart transplant candidates.
Background. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing is being used to help select heart transplant candidates on the basis of the assumption that a low peak exercise Vo2indicates severe hemodynamic dysfunction and a poor prognosis. However, noncardiac factors, such as muscle deconditioning, can also influence exercise capacity. Therefore, peak exercise Vo2may overestimate the severity of cardiac dysfunction in some patients.
Methods. Hemodynamic and respiratory responses to maximal treadmill exercise were measured in 64 sequential patientsundergoing evaluation for heart transplantation, all of whom had an ejection fraction <35% and reduced peak exercise Vo2levels (mean [±SD] 13.3 ± 2.7 ml/min per kg).
Results. Twenty-eight (44%) of 64 patients exhibited a reduced cardiac output response to exercise and pulmonary wedge pressure >20 mm Hg at peak exercise, consistent with severe hemodynamic dysfunction. Twenty-three patients (36%) exhibited a normal cardiac output response to exercise but a wedge pressure >20 mm Hg at peak exercise, suggesting moderate hemodynamic dysfunction. Thirteen patients (20%) exhibited a normal cardiac output and wedge pressure <20 mm Hg at peak exercise, suggesting mild hemodynamic dysfunction. Despite these markedly different hemodynamic responses, all three groups exhibited similar peak exercise Vo2levels (mild dysfunction 14.2 ± 3.5 ml/min per kg, moderate dysfunction 13.9 ± 2.7 ml/min per kg, severe dysfunction 12.4 ± 2.1 ml/min per kg). A peak exercise Vo2level <14 ml/min per kg, considered to reflect severe hemodynamic dysfunction, was observed in 18 of the patients with a normal cardiac output response to exercise, whereas 7 patients with severe hemodynamic dysfunction had a peak Vo2level >14 ml/min per kg.
Conclusions. More than 50% of potential heart transplant candidates with a reduced peak exercise Vo2level exhibit only mild or moderate hemodynamic dysfunction during exercise. Hemodynamic responses to exercise should be directly measured in potential transplant candidates to confirm severe circulatory dysfunction.
☆ This study was supported by a grant-in-aid from the American Heart Association, Dallas, Texas.
- Received December 13, 1994.
- Revision received March 9, 1995.
- Accepted March 14, 1995.