Dynamic trend of lung fluid movement during exercise in heart failure: From lung imaging to alveolar-capillary membrane function.

Pezzuto B; Centro Cardiologico Monzino, IRCCS, Milan, Italy.
Contini M; Berna G; Galotta A; Cattaneo G; Maragna R; Gugliandolo P; Agostoni P;

International journal of cardiology [Int J Cardiol] 2024 Apr 19, pp. 132041.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2024 Apr 19.

Background: In chronic heart failure (HF), exercise-induced increase in pulmonary capillary pressure may cause an increase of pulmonary congestion, or the development of pulmonary edema. We sought to assess in HF patients the exercise-induced intra-thoracic fluid movements, by measuring plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), lung comets and lung diffusion for carbon monoxide (DLCO) and nitric oxide (DLNO), as markers of hemodynamic load changes, interstitial space and alveolar-capillary membrane fluids, respectively.
Methods and Results: Twenty-four reduced ejection fraction HF patients underwent BNP, lung comets and DLCO/DLNO measurements before, at peak and 1 h after the end of a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test. BNP significantly increased at peak from 549 (328-841) to 691 (382-1207, p < 0.0001) pg/mL and almost completely returned to baseline value 1 h after exercise. Comets number increased at peak from 9.4 ± 8.2 to 24.3 ± 16.7, returning to baseline (9.7 ± 7.4) after 1 h (p < 0.0001). DLCO did not change significantly at peak (from 18.01 ± 4.72 to 18.22 ± 4.73 mL/min/mmHg), but was significantly reduced at 1 h (16.97 ± 4.26 mL/min/mmHg) compared to both baseline (p = 0.0211) and peak (p = 0.0174). DLNO showed a not significant trend toward lower values 1 h post-exercise.
Conclusions: Moderate/severe HF patients have a 2-step intra-thoracic fluid movement with exercise: the first during active exercise, from the vascular space toward the interstitial space, as confirmed by comets increase, without any effect on diffusion, and the second, during recovery, toward the alveolar-capillary membrane, clearing the interstitial space but worsening gas diffusion.