Contributions of anemia to exercise intolerance in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction–An exercise stress echocardiographic study

Ayami Naito, Masaru Obokata, Kazuki Kagami, Tomonari Harada, Hidemi Sorimachi, Naoki Yuasa, Yuki Saito, Toshimitsu Kato, Naoki Wada, Takeshi Adachi, Hideki Ishii

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Aims: Anemia is common in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and is associated with exercise intolerance. However, there are limited data on how anemia contributes to reduced exercise capacity in patients with HFpEF. We aimed to characterize exercise capacity, cardiovascular and ventilatory reserve, and the oxygen (O2) pathway in anemic patients with HFpEF. Methods: A total of 238 patients with HFpEF and 248 dyspneic patients without HF underwent ergometry exercise stress echocardiography with simultaneous expired gas analysis. Patients with HFpEF were classified into two groups based on the presence of anemia (hemoglobin < 13.0 g/dL in men and < 12.0 g/dL in women). Results: Anemic HFpEF patients (n = 112) had worse nutritional status and renal function, lower iron levels, and greater left ventricular (LV) remodeling and plasma volume expansion than those without anemia (n = 126). Exercise capacity, assessed by peak oxygen consumption, exercise intensity, and exercise duration, was lower in the anemic HFpEF group than in the other groups. Despite a similar cardiac output during exercise, anemic patients with HFpEF demonstrated limitations in arterial O2 delivery, lower arteriovenous O2 content difference, and ventilatory inefficiency (higher minute ventilation vs. carbon dioxide production slope) during peak exercise. Conclusion: Anemic HFpEF patients demonstrated unique pathophysiological features with greater LV remodeling and plasma volume expansion, limitations in arterial O2 delivery and peripheral O2 extraction, and ventilatory inefficiency, which may contribute to reduced exercise capacity. Further studies are needed to develop an optimal approach for treating anemia in patients with HFpEF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101255
JournalIJC Heart and Vasculature
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Anemia
  • Exercise capacity
  • Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction


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