Background: Many patients in the Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial (SCD-HeFT) had a significant improvement (> 10%) in the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) during the course of the study, but the factors and outcomes associated with such improvement are uncertain. Methods: We examined factors and rates of mortality, cause-specific mortality, and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) shocks associated with improvement in LVEF by analyzing patients in the SCD-HeFT who were randomized to placebo or an ICD and who had an LVEF checked during follow-up. Results: During a median follow-up of 3.99 years, of 837 patients who had at least two follow-up LVEF measurements, 276 (33%) patients had > 10% improvement in LVEF and 561 (67%) patients had no significant change in LVEF. Factors significantly associated with LVEF improvement included female sex, white race, history of hypertension, a QRS duration < 120 ms, and beta-blocker use. Improvement in LVEF was associated with a significant improvement in survival. There was no significant association between improvement in LVEF and cause-specific death, but there was a significant association between improvement in LVEF and reduced risk of receiving appropriate ICD shocks. Conclusions: About a third of patients in this analysis, who were randomized to placebo or an ICD in SCD-HeFT, had a significant improvement in LVEF during follow-up; improvement in LVEF was associated with improved survival but not with cause-specific death, and with decreased likelihood of receiving appropriate ICD shocks.
- heart failure
- sudden cardiac death