BACKGROUND - Dynamic mitral regurgitation (MR) contributes to decompensation in chronic dilated heart failure. Reduction of MR was the primary physiological end point in the ESCAPE trial, which compared acute therapy guided by jugular venous pressure, edema, and weight (CLIN) with therapy guided additionally by pulmonary artery catheters (PAC) toward pulmonary wedge pressure
METHODS AND RESULTS - Patients were randomized to PAC or CLIN during hospitalization with chronic heart failure and mean left ventricular ejection fraction 20%, and at least 1 symptom and 1 sign of congestion. MR and mitral flow patterns, measured blinded to therapy and timepoint, were available at baseline and discharge in 133 patients, and at 3 months in 104 patients. Changes in MR and related transmitral flow patterns were compared between PAC and CLIN patients. Jugular venous pressure, edema, and weights decreased similarly during therapy in the hospital for both groups. In PAC but not in CLIN patients, MR jet area, MR/left atrial area ratio, and E velocity were each significantly reduced and deceleration time increased by discharge. By 3 months, patients had clinical evidence of increased jugular venous pressure, edema, and weight since discharge, reaching significance in the PAC arm, and the change in MR was no longer different between the 2 groups, although the change in E velocity remained greater in PAC patients.
CONCLUSIONS - During hospitalization, therapy guided by PAC to reduce left-sided pressures improved MR and related filling patterns more than therapy guided clinically by evidence of systemic venous congestion. This early reduction did not translate into improved outcomes out of the hospital, where volume status reverted toward baseline.