We sought to determine whether a novel, non-pharmacological form of immune modulation therapy (IMT), shown experimentally to reduce inflammatory and increase anti-inflammatory cytokines, improved outcomes in patients with advanced heart failure (HF). Immune activation contributes to the progression of HF, but treatments directed against inflammation have been largely unsuccessful. Seventy-five HF patients (New York Heart Association [NYHA] functional class III to IV) were randomized to receive either IMT (n = 38) or placebo (n = 37) in a double-blind trial for six months, with continuation of standard HF therapy. Patients were evaluated using the 6-min walk test, changes in NYHA functional class, cardiac function, and quality of life assessments, as well as occurrence of death and hospitalization. There was no between-group difference in 6-min walk test, but 15 IMT patients (compared with 9 placebo) improved NYHA functional classification by at least one class (p = 0.140). The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that IMT significantly reduced the risk of death (p = 0.022) and hospitalization (p = 0.008). Analysis of a clinical composite score demonstrated a significant between-group difference (p = 0.006). There was no difference in left ventricular ejection fraction, but there was a trend toward improved quality of life (p = 0.110). These preliminary findings are consistent with the hypothesis that immune activation is important in the pathogenesis of HF and establish the basis for a phase III trial to define the benefit of IMT in chronic HF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine