Measures of serum cardiac troponins and natriuretic peptides have become established as prognostic heart failure risk markers. In addition to detecting myocardial fibrosis through late gadolinium enhancement (LGE), extracellular volume fraction (ECV) measures by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) have emerged as a phenotypic imaging risk marker for incident heart failure outcomes. We sought to examine the relationship between cardiac troponins, natriuretic peptides, ECV and their associations with incident heart failure events in a CMR referral base. Mid short axis T1 maps were divided into 6 cardiac segments, each classified as LGE absent or present. Global ECV was derived from T1 maps using the area-weighted average of only LGE-absent segments. ECV was considered elevated if measured >30%, the upper 95% bounds of a reference healthy group without known cardiac disease (n = 28). Patients were dichotomized by presence of elevated ECV. High-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) and N-terminal B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) were measured using serum samples acquired and stored at time of CMR scan, and patients were categorized into 3 groups for each blood marker based on recommended cutoff values. Subsequent heart failure admission and any death were ascertained. Relationships with ECV, hs-cTnT, and NT-proBNP were examined separately and as a composite with Cox proportional hazard models. Of 1,604 serial patients referred for a clinical CMR with myocardial T1 maps, 331 were eligible after exclusions and had blood available and were followed over a median 25.0 [interquartile range 21.8, 31.7] months. After adjustments for age (mean 57.3 [standard deviation (SD) 15.1 years), gender (61% male), and ethnicity (12.7% black), elevated ECV remained a predictor of a first composite heart failure outcome for patients with high levels of hs-cTnT (≥14 ng/L; hazard ratio [HR] 2.42 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.17, 5.03]; p = 0.02) and NT-proBNP (≥300 pg/mL; HR 2.28 [95% CI 1.24, 4.29]; p = 0.01). Similar trends were seen for lower category levels of blood markers, but did not persist with minimal covariate adjustments. Elevated measures of ECV by CMR are associated with incident heart failure outcomes in patients with high hs-cTnT and NT-proBNP levels. This imaging marker may have a role for additional heart failure risk stratification.
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