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Effect of Serum Albumin Levels in Patients With Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction (from the TOPCAT Trial)

Published:November 19, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2019.11.006
      Little data are available regarding the determinants and prognostic significance of serum albumin in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF). We sought to examine the phenotypic correlates of albumin and its independent prognostic implications in HFpEF. We analyzed data from 3,254 subjects enrolled the TOPCAT trial. We stratified subjects according to tertiles of albumin and examined differences in various phenotypic traits between these strata, including 8 protein biomarkers selected ad hoc and measured from frozen samples available in a subset of participants (n = 372). We also assessed the relationship between albumin and the trial primary endpoint. Lower albumin was associated with older age, black race, and greater prevalence of NYHA class III-IV, peripheral arterial disease, atrial fibrillation and diabetes mellitus. Lower albumin was also associated with increased levels of several inflammatory biomarkers, markers of liver fibrosis, albuminuria, and greater arterial stiffness, diastolic dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension. Albumin was a strong predictor of the primary trial endpoint, even after adjustment for the MAGGIC risk score (hazard ratio [HR] 0.72, confidence interval [CI] 0.67 to 0.78; p <0.0001) and prespecified traditional risk factors (HR 0.78, CI 0.71 to 0.85; p <0.0001). Lower albumin was strongly associated with a worse prognosis even well within normal ranges (>3.5 g/dL), with a sharp increase in risk between 4.6 and 3.6 g/dL. In conclusion, albumin is an integrated marker of various adverse processes in HFpEF, including inflammation, subclinical liver disease, arterial stiffness, and renal disease. Albumin is a powerful risk predictor independent of traditional risk prediction models, even within normal ranges.
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