Exercise oxygen pulse kinetics in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy


Reduced cardiac output (CO) has been considered crucial in symptoms’ genesis in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Absolute value and temporal behaviour of O2-pulse (oxygen uptake/heart rate (VO2/HR)), and the VO2/work relationship during exercise reflect closely stroke volume (SV) and CO changes, respectively. We hypothesise that adding O2-pulse absolute value and kinetics, and VO2/work relationship to standard cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) could help identify more exercise-limited patients with HCM.


CPETs were performed in 3 HCM dedicated clinical units. We retrospectively enrolled non-end-stage consecutive patients with HCM, grouped according to left ventricle outflow tract obstruction (LVOTO) at rest or during Valsalva manoeuvre (72% of patients with LVOTO <30; 10% between 30 and 49 and 18% ≥50 mm Hg). We evaluated the CPET response in HCM focusing on parameters strongly associated with SV and CO, such as O2-pulse and VO2, respectively, considering their absolute values and temporal behaviour during exercise.


We included 312 patients (70% males, age 49±18 years). Peak VO2 (percentage of predicted), O2-pulse and ventilation to carbon dioxide production (VE/VCO2) slope did not change across LVOTO groups. Ninety-six (31%) patients with HCM presented an abnormal O2-pulse temporal behaviour, irrespective of LVOTO values. These patients showed lower peak systolic pressure, workload (106±45 vs 130±49 W), VO2 (21.3±6.6 vs 24.1±7.7 mL/min/kg; 74%±17% vs 80%±20%) and O2-pulse (12 (9–14) vs 14 (11–17) mL/beat), with higher VE/VCO2 slope (28 (25–31) vs 27 (24–31)) (p<0.005 for all). Only 2 patients had an abnormal VO2/work slope.


None of the frequently used CPET parameters, either as absolute values or dynamic relationships, were associated with LVOTO. Differently, an abnormal temporal behaviour of O2-pulse during exercise, which is strongly related to inadequate SV increase, correlates with reduced functional capacity (peak and anaerobic threshold VO2 and workload) and increased VE/VCO2 slope, identifying more advanced disease irrespectively of LVOTO.

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