Identifying Quality of Life Outcome Patterns to Inform Treatment Choices in Ischemic Cardiomyopathy


The Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure (STICH) trial found that routine use of coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) improved mean quality of life (QoL) scores relative to guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy. However, mean differences in QoL scores do not provide what patients want to know when facing a high-risk/high-benefit treatment choice.


We analyzed Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) Overall Summary scores in CABG and GDMT patients over 36 months using a combination of statistical methods to group QoL data into clinically relevant outcome patterns (phenotype trajectories) and to then identify the main baseline predictors of each phenotype. QoL outcome phenotypes were developed using mixture models to define the dominant phenotype trajectories present in STICH QoL data. Logistic regression models were used to predict each patient’s probability of achieving each outcome pattern with each treatment.


In STICH, 592 patients underwent CABG and 607 were managed with GDMT. Our analyses identified three phenotype trajectory patterns in both treatment groups. Two of the three trajectories showed improving patterns, and were classified as “good QoL trajectories”, seen in 498 (84.1%) CABG and 449 (73.9%) GDMT patients. Defining a consequential CABG-GDMT treatment difference as a >10% higher absolute predicted probability of belonging to good QoL trajectories, 277 (23.5%) patients were more likely to have good outcome with CABG while 45 (3.8%) patients were more likely to have a good outcome with GDMT. For 644 (54.7%) patients, CABG and GDMT probabilities of a good outcome were within 5% of each other.


The pattern of QoL outcomes after CABG compared with GDMT in STICH followed three main phenotypic trajectories, which could be predicted based on individual baseline features. Patient-specific predictions about expected QoL outcomes with different treatment choices provide an intuitive framework for personalizing patient decision making.


Ischemic cardiomyopathy; coronary artery bypass graft; latent class trajectory; quality of life.

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