The diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) is indicative of the alveolar-capillary membrane function. A reduced DLCO is associated with poor prognosis in chronic heart failure (HF). However, the significance of DLCO as an independent prognostic predictor has not been established. Here, we aimed to determine the prognostic value of DLCO in patients with chronic HF. We enrolled 214 patients (139 females, mean age: 63 ± 16 years, left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF]: 45 ± 21%) with stable chronic HF who underwent pulmonary function tests. Only never smokers were included in the analysis because smoking can decrease DLCO. During a median follow-up period of 2.1 years, 52 patients (24.3%) experienced cardiac events, including unplanned HF admissions, left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantations, all-cause deaths, and cardiopulmonary arrests (CPAs). The median percent predicted DLCO (%DLCO) was 87.3%. In a Cox regression analysis, a %DLCO of ≤87.3% was independently associated with the cardiac events, even after adjusting for age, sex, systolic blood pressure (SBP), LVEF, anemia, brain natriuretic peptide, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and prior HF admission (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.87, 95% confidence interval: 1.03-3.53, P = 0.030). A reduced DLCO is an independent predictor of poor prognosis in nonsmoking patients with chronic HF.
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