Prognostic effect and modulation of cardiac sympathetic function in heart failure patients treated with cardiac resynchronization therapy

Rita Ilhão Moreira, Ana Abreu, Guilherme Portugal, Luís Oliveira, Mário Oliveira, Inês Rodrigues, Madalena Coutinho Cruz, Pedro Silva Cunha, Vanessa Santos, Helena Santa Clara, Miguel Mota Carmo, Rui Cruz Ferreira

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cardiac autonomic dysfunction as assessed by 123 I-metaiodobenzylguanidine ( 123 I-mIBG) scintigraphy is associated with poor prognosis in heart failure (HF) patients. Although cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) has emerged as an effective therapy in improving outcomes on HF patients, its effect on cardiac sympathetic nervous function is still not fully understood. We aimed to study the value of pre-implantation 123 I-mIBG late heart-to-mediastinum ratio (HMR) as a predictor of response and outcomes after CRT and to correlate modification in this parameter with CRT response and functional improvement. Methods and Results: BETTER-HF (Benefit of exercise training therapy and cardiac resynchronization in HF patients) is a prospective randomized clinical trial including HF patients submitted CRT (mean LVEF 24 ± 8%, 74% NYHA class ≥ III) who underwent a clinical, echocardiographic, and scintigraphic assessment before and 6 months after CRT. One-hundred and twenty-one patients were included. Echocardiographic response was observed in 54% and composite outcome of cardiac mortality, cardiac transplant or heart failure hospitalization in 24% of patients. Baseline late HMR was an independent predictor of CRT response (regression coefficient 2.906, 95% CI 0.293-3.903, P .029) and outcomes (HR 0.066 95% CI 0.005-0.880, P .040). At follow-up, 123 I-mIBG imaging showed positive changes in cardiac sympathetic nerve activity only in responders to CRT (1.36 ± 0.14 prior vs. 1.42 ± 0.16 after CRT, P .039). There was a significant correlation between improvement in late HMR and improvement in peak oxygen consumption (r 0.547, P < .001). Conclusion: In our study, baseline cardiac denervation predicted response and clinical outcomes after CRT implantation. Cardiac sympathetic function was improved only in patients who responded to CRT and these positive changes were correlated with improvement in functional capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Cardiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • cardiac innervation
  • diagnostic and prognostic application
  • Heart failure


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