Aims: Improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) after up-titration of guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) has been well described in heart failure (HF) patients. Less is known about the prevalence and clinical course of right ventricular dysfunction (RVD) in patients with new-onset HF.
Methods and results: From 2012 to 2018, 625 patients with a recent (<3 months) diagnosis of HF were referred to a specialized nurse-led HF clinic for protocolized up-titration of GDMT. RVD, defined as tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) <17 mm, was assessed at baseline and at the follow-up visit. Patients were followed for the combined endpoint of all-cause mortality and HF hospitalization for a mean of 3.3 ± 1.9 years. Of the 625 patients, 241 (38.6%) patients had RVD at baseline. Patients with RVD were older, more symptomatic, had a lower LVEF, and more often had a history of cardiothoracic surgery and atrial fibrillation. After a median follow-up of 9 months, right ventricular function normalized in 49% of the patients with baseline RVD. RVD at baseline was associated with a higher risk of the combined endpoint (hazard ratio [HR] 1.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21–2.18). Right ventricular function normalization was associated with a lower risk for the combined endpoint (HR 0.56, 95% CI 0.31–0.99), independent of baseline TAPSE, age, sex, and LVEF.
Conclusion: More than one-third of patients with new-onset HF have RVD. RVD is associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality and HF hospitalization. Recovery of RVD regularly occurs during up-titration of GDMT and is associated with improved clinical outcomes.