To evaluate sex-related differences among real-life outpatients with chronic heart failure across the ejection fraction spectrum and to evaluate whether these differences might impact therapy and outcomes.
A total of 2528 heart failure patients were examined between 2009 and 2015 [mean age 76, 42% females; 59% with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), 17% with heart failure with mid-range ejection fraction (HFmrEF) and 24% with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF)]. Females showed a higher prevalence of HFpEF than males.
Females were older, less obese and with less ischaemic heart disease. They have renal failure and anaemia more frequently than males. There were no differences in terms of heart failure therapy in the HFrEF group, but a lower prescription rate of angiotensin-converting enzyme-I/AT1 blockers in HFmrEF and HFpEF and a higher prescription of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists in the female group with HFpEF were observed. Crude rate mortality and composite outcome (death/heart failure progression) run similarly across sexes regardless of the ejection fraction categories. After adjustment, risk of mortality was significantly lower in females than males in the HFmrEF and HFpEF groups, whereas similar risk was confirmed across sexes in the HFrEF group. Considering prognostic risk factors, noncardiac comorbidities emerged in the HFpEF group.
In a community-based heart failure cohort, females were differently distributed within heart failure phenotypes and they presented some different characteristics across ejection fraction categories. Although in an unadjusted model there was no significant difference for adverse outcomes, in an adjusted model females showed a lower risk of mortality in HFpEF and HFmrEF. Concerning sex-related prognostic risk factors, noncardiac comorbidities significantly affected adverse prognosis in females with HFpEF.