Although disease etiologies differ, heart failure patients with preserved and reduced ejection fraction (HFpEF and HFrEF, respectively) both present with clinical symptoms when under stress and impaired exercise capacity. The extent to which the adaptation of heart rate (HR), stroke volume (SV), and cardiac output (CO) under stress conditions is altered can be quantified by stress testing in conjunction with imaging methods and may help to detect the diminishment in a patient’s condition early. The aim of this meta-analysis was to quantify hemodynamic changes during physiological and pharmacological stress testing in patients with HF. A systematic literature search (PROSPERO 2020:CRD42020161212) in MEDLINE was conducted to assess hemodynamic changes under dynamic and pharmacological stress testing at different stress intensities in HFpEF and HFrEF patients. Pooled mean changes were estimated using a random effects model. Altogether, 140 study arms with 7,248 exercise tests were analyzed. High-intensity dynamic stress testing represented 73% of these data (70 study arms with 5,318 exercise tests), where: HR increased by 45.69 bpm (95% CI 44.51–46.88; I2 = 98.4%), SV by 13.49 ml (95% CI 6.87–20.10; I2 = 68.5%), and CO by 3.41 L/min (95% CI 2.86–3.95; I2 = 86.3%). No significant differences between HFrEF and HFpEF groups were found. Despite the limited availability of comparative studies, these reference values can help to estimate the expected hemodynamic responses in patients with HF. No differences in chronotropic reactions, changes in SV, or CO were found between HFrEF and HFpEF. When compared to healthy individuals, exercise tolerance, as well as associated HR and CO changes under moderate-high dynamic stress, was substantially impaired in both HF groups. This may contribute to a better disease understanding, future study planning, and patient-specific predictive models.
- Heart failure
- Stress testing
- HFpEF- heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
- HFrEF- heart failure with reduced ejection fraction
- Physiologic changes
- Exercise testing (in) heart failure