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Clinical Investigations: CARDIOLOGY |

Is Blood Pressure Response to the Valsalva Maneuver Related to Neurohormones, Exercise Capacity, and Clinical Findings in Heart Failure?*

Hans P. Brunner-La Rocca, MD; Daniel Weilenmann, MD; Hans Rickli, MD; Ferenc Follath, MD; Wolfgang Kiowski, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology (Drs. Brunner-La Rocca, Weilenmann, and Kiowski); and the Department of Internal Medicine (Dr. Follath), University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.

Correspondence to: Hans P. Brunner-La Rocca, MD, Baker Medical Research Institute, PO Box 6492, Melbourne 8008, Vic, Australia; e-mail: hanspeter.brunner@baker.edu.au



Chest. 1999;116(4):861-867. doi:10.1378/chest.116.4.861
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Objectives: To investigate the relationship of the BP response to the Valsalva maneuver (VM) to parameters of congestive heart failure (CHF) other than hemodynamic measures.

Design: Comparison of neurohormones (atrial natriuretic peptide [ANP], brain natriuretic peptide [BNP], norepinephrine[ NE]), parameters of spiroergometry, and clinical parameters with BP response to the VM.

Setting: Tertiary care center.

Patients: Forty-five patients with stable CHF (ejection fraction, 28 ± 7%).

Measurements: Pulse amplitude ratio (PAR) calculated between the end and the beginning of the VM using the last two and the first three beats of the straining phase. Failure of the systolic BP to fall below the resting level during the VM.

Results: Patients in the New York Heart Association class III (n = 15) had a higher PAR than those in class II (0.82 ± 0.21 vs 0.63 ± 0.20; p < 0.01). There was a close correlation between PAR and ANP (r = 0.76) and BNP (r = 0.62), whereas other parameters were less well correlated (eg, for peak V̇o2, r = −0.35; p < 0.05). Patients with failure of the systolic BP to fall below the resting level (n = 24) had higher neurohormones (mean ANP, 246 ± 158 vs 84 ± 43 pg/mL; mean BNP, 282 ± 289 vs 81 ± 85 pg/mL; p < 0.001; mean NE, 3.9 ± 1.7 vs 3.4 ± 1.5 nmol/L; nanosecond), lower exercise capacity (19.8 ± 5.2 vs 23.0 ± 3.7 mL/kg/min; p < 0.05), and their quality of life (Minnesota questionnaire) was more compromised (31 ± 19 vs 18 ± 15; p < 0.05).

Conclusions: The BP response to the VM is related to a broad range of clinical and neurohumoral parameters of CHF. Whether or not it is also related to prognosis remains to be determined. Nevertheless, this easily applicable test should be part of the assessment of patients with CHF.

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