Background—Patients with heart failure (HF) are typically designated as having reduced or preserved ejection fraction (HFREF, HFPEF) because of the importance of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) on therapeutic decisions and prognosis. Such designations are not necessarily static, yet few data exist to describe the natural history of LVEF over time.
Methods and Results—We identified 2413 patients from Kaiser Permanente Colorado with a primary discharge diagnosis of HF between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2008, who had greater than or equal to 2 LVEF measurements separated by greater than or equal to 30 days. We used multi-state Markov modeling to examine transitions among HFREF, HFPEF, and death. We observed a total of 8183 transitions. Women were more likely than men to transition from HFREF to HFPEF (hazard ratio, 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.38–2.47). Patients who were adherent to β-blockers were more likely to transition from HFREF to HFPEF (hazard ratio, 1.53; 95% confidence interval, 1.10–2.13) compared with patients who were nonadherent to β-blockers, whereas angiotensin-converting enzyme or angiotensin II receptor blocker adherence was not associated with LVEF transitions. Patients who had a previous myocardial infarction were more likely to transition from HFPEF to HFREF (hazard ratio, 1.75; 95% confidence interval, 1.26–2.42).
Conclusions—In this cohort of patients with HF, LVEF is a dynamic factor related to sex, coexisting conditions, and drug therapy. These findings have implications for left ventricular systolic function ascertainment in patients with HF and support evidence-based therapy use, especially β-blockers.
Again, it bears repeating that beta blocker use is associated with improvement in EF whereas ACEI and ARB use are not. Note that ACEIs and ARBs, but not beta blockers, are part of the heart failure performance measures.