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Prognostic Role of Left Ventricular Dysfunction in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease After an Ambulatory Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

      The relationship between left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and outcomes after cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is not well established; therefore we assessed the prognostic role of LVEF at the end of ambulatory CR program in patients (pts) who received coronary revascularization. LVEF was evaluated at hospital discharge and re-assessed at the end of CR in all ST-elevation myocardial infarction and coronary artery bypass graft pts, while in pts with non-ST-elevation MI or elective percutaneous coronary intervention the echocardiography was repeated if they had an impaired LVEF at discharge. New hospitalizations for cardiovascular causes at 1-year, and cardiovascular mortality during long-term follow-up were analyzed. We enrolled in CR 3078 pts, 86% showed LVEF ≥40% and 9% LVEF <40%. Of those with a discharge LVEF <40%, 56% improved LVEF (LVEF ≥40%) after CR. At 1-year, heart failure was the main cause of new hospitalizations in LVEF <40% group compared with LVEF ≥40% group (5% vs 0.4%, p <0.01).
      During a mean follow up of 48 ± 25 months, cardiovascular death occurred in 9% of pts with LVEF <40% and in 2% with LVEF ≥40% (p = 0.014). At Cox multivariate analysis, LVEF <40% at the end of CR and age were independent predictors of hospitalization and mortality for cardiovascular causes, while coronary artery bypass graft was a protective factor. In conclusion, during CR the improvement of LVEF occurs in a relevant proportion of patients, the re-assessment of LVEF at the end of the CR is helpful for risk stratification because left ventricle dysfunction at the end of CR is associated with worse cardiovascular outcomes.
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