Temporal Trends and Prognosis of Physical Examination Findings in Patients with Acute Decompensated Heart Failure: The ARIC Study Community Surveillance

Abhigna Kolupoti, Marat Fudim, Ambarish Pandey, Anna Kucharska-Newton, Michael E. Hall, Muthiah Vaduganathan, Robert J. Mentz, Melissa C. Caughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Bedside evaluation of congestion is a mainstay of heart failure (HF) management. Whether detected physical examination signs have changed over time as obesity prevalence has increased in HF populations, or if the associated prognosis differs for HF with reduced or preserved ejection fraction (HFrEF or HFpEF) is uncertain. METHODS: From 2005 to 2014, the ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) conducted adjudicated hospital surveillance of acute decompensated HF. We analyzed trends in physical examination findings, imaging signs, and symptoms related to congestion, both over time and by obesity class, and associated 28-day mortality risks. RESULTS: Of 24 937 weighted hospitalizations for acute decompensated HF (mean age 75 years, 53% women, 32% Black), 47% had HFpEF. The prevalence of obesity increased from 2005 to 2014 for both HF types. With increasing obesity category, detected edema increased, while jugular venous distension decreased, and rales remained stable. Detected edema also increased over time, for both HF types. Associations between 28-day mortality and individual signs and symptoms of congestion were similar for HFpEF and HFrEF; however, the adjusted mortality risk with all 3 (edema, rales, and jugular venous distension) versus <3 physical examination findings was higher for patients with HFpEF (odds ratio, 2.41 [95% CI, 1.53-3.79]) than HFrEF (odds ratio, 1.30 [95% CI, 0.87-1.93]); P for interaction by HF type =0.02. CONCLUSIONS: In patients hospitalized with acute decompensated HF, detected physical examination findings differ both temporally and by obesity. Combined findings from the physical examination are more prognostic of 28-day mortality for patients with HFpEF than HFrEF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E008403
JournalCirculation: Heart Failure
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr Fudim is supported by a Mario Family Award, Duke Chair’s Award, Bayer, and a Translating Duke Health Award, and he receives consulting fees from AstraZeneca, AxonTherapies, CVRx, Daxor, Edwards LifeSciences, Galvani, NXT Biomedical, and Respicardia. Dr. Vaduganathan has received research grant support or served on advisory boards for American Regent, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer AG, Baxter Healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cytokinetics, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Relypsa, and Roche Diagnostics, speaker engagements with Novartis and Roche Diagnostics, and participates on clinical end point committees for studies sponsored by Galmed and Novartis. Dr Mentz received research support and honoraria from Abbott, American Regent, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim/Eli Lilly, Boston Scientific, Cytokinetics, Fast BioMedical, Gilead, Innolife, Medtronic, Merck, Novartis, Relypsa, Respicardia, Roche, Sanofi, Vifor, and Windtree Therapeutics. The other authors report no conflicts.

Funding Information:
The ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services (contract numbers HHSN268201700001I, HHSN268201700002I, HHSN268201700003I, HHSN268201700004I, and HHSN268201700005I).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Heart Association, Inc.


  • Heart failure
  • Mortality
  • Obesity
  • Physical examination
  • Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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