AIMS: We hypothesized that grading of diastolic dysfunction (DDF) according to two DDF grading algorithms and strain imaging yields prognostic information on all-cause mortality in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).
METHODS AND RESULTS: We enrolled ambulatory HFrEF (left ventricular ejection fraction < 45%; N = 1 065) patients who underwent echocardiography and speckle tracking assessment of global longitudinal strain (GLS). Patients were stratified according to DDF grades (Grades I-III) according to two contemporary DDF grading algorithms. Prognostic performance was assessed by C-statistics. Of the originally 1 065 enrolled patients, a total of 645 (61%) patients (age: 67 � 11 years, male: 72%, ejection fraction: 27 � 9%) were classified according to both DDF grading algorithms. Concordance between the algorithms was moderate (kappa = 0.48) and the reclassification rate was 33%. During a median follow-up of 3.3 years (1.9, 4.7 years), 101 (16%) died from all causes. When comparing DDF Grade I vs. Grade III, both algorithms provided prognostic information [Nagueh: (hazard ratio) HR 2.09, 95% confidence interval (CI),1.32-3.31, P = 0.002; Johansen: HR 2.47, 95% CI, 1.57-3.87, P < 0.001]. However, when comparing DDF Grade II vs. Grade III, only the Johansen algorithm yielded prognostic information (Nagueh: HR 1.04, 95% CI, 0.60-1.77, P = 0.90; Johansen: HR 2.26, 95% CI, 1.35-3.77, P = 0.002). We found no difference in prognostic performance between the two algorithms (C-statistics: 0.604 vs. 0.623, P = 0.24). Assessed by C-statistics, the most powerful predictors of the endpoint from the two algorithms were E/e'-ratio (C-statistics: 0.644), tricuspid regurgitation velocity (C-statistics: 0.625) and E/A-ratio (C-statistics: 0.602). When adding GLS to a combination of these predictors, the prognostic performance increased significantly (C-statistics: 0.705 vs. C-statistics: 0.634, P = 0.028).
CONCLUSIONS: Evaluation of DDF in patients with HFrEF yields prognostic information on all-cause mortality. Furthermore, adding GLS to contemporary algorithms of DDF adds novel prognostic information.