Optimization of inotropic treatment in worsening heart failure sometimes requires invasive hemodynamic assessment in selected patients. Impedance cardiography (ICG) may be useful for a noninvasive hemodynamic evaluation.
ICG was performed in 40 patients (69 ± 8 years; left ventricular ejection fraction 27.5 ± 5.6%; New York Heart Association 3.18 ± 0.34; Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support 5.48 ± 0.96, before and after infusion of Levosimendan (0.1–0.2 μg/kg per min for up to 24 h). Echocardiogram, ICG [measuring cardiac index (CI), total peripheral resistances (TPRs) and thoracic fluid content (TFC)] and plasma levels of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) were obtained; in nine patients, right heart catheterization was also carried out.
When right catheterization and ICG were performed simultaneously, a significant relationship was observed between values of CI and TPR, and between TFC and pulmonary wedge pressure. ICG detected the Levosimendan-induced recovery of the hemodynamic status, associated with improved systolic and diastolic function and reduction in BNP levels. One-year mortality was 4.4%. At multivariate analysis, independent predictors of mortality were: no improvement in the severity of mitral regurgitation, a persistent restrictive filling pattern (E/E’ > 15), a reduction of BNP levels below 30% and a change below 10% in CI, TPR and TFC. When combined, absence of hemodynamic improvement at ICG could predict 1-year mortality with better sensitivity (86%) and specificity (85%) than the combination of echocardiographic and BNP criteria only (sensitivity 80% and specificity 36%).
Noninvasive hemodynamic evaluation of heart failure patients during infusion of inodilator drugs is reliable and may help in their prognostic stratification.