DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3760-yPages: 1897-1905

Regional interaction between myocardial sympathetic denervation, contractile dysfunction, and fibrosis in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: 11C-hydroxyephedrine PET study

1. Hokkaido University, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine

2. Hokkaido University Hospital, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology

3. Hokkaido University, Department of Nuclear Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine

4. Hokkaido University Hospital, Division of Medical Imaging and Technology

5. Hokkaido University, Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine

6. Hokkaido University, Department of Biomedical Science and Engineering, Faculty of Health Sciences

7. Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Department of Radiology

Correspondence to:
Masanao Naya
Tel: +81-11-706-6973




This investigation aimed to identify significant predictors of regional sympathetic denervation quantified by 11C-hydroxyephedrine (HED) positron emission tomography (PET) in patients with heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (HFpEF).


Included in the study were 34 patients (age 63 ± 15 years, 23 men) with HFpEF (left ventricular ejection fraction ≥40%) and 11 age-matched volunteers without heart failure. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was performed to measure left ventricular size and function, and the extent of myocardial late gadolinium enhancement (LGE). 11C-HED PET was performed to quantify myocardial sympathetic innervation that was expressed as a 11C-HED retention index (RI, %/min). To identify predictors of regional 11C-HED RI in HFpEF patients, we propose a multivariate mixed-effects model for repeated measures over segments with an unstructured covariance matrix.


Global 11C-HED RI was significantly lower and more heterogeneous in HFpEF patients than in volunteers (P < 0.01 for all). Regional 11C-HED RI was correlated positively with systolic wall thickening (r = 0.42, P < 0.001) and negatively with the extent of LGE (r = −0.43, P < 0.001). Segments in HFpEF patients with a large extent of LGE had the lowest regional 11C-HED RI among all segments (P < 0.001 in post hoc tests). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that systolic wall thickening and the extent of LGE were significant predictors of regional 11C-HED RI in HFpEF patients (both P ≤ 0.001).


Regional sympathetic denervation was associated with contractile dysfunction and fibrotic burden in HFpEF patients, suggesting that regional sympathetic denervation may provide an integrated measure of myocardial damage in HFpEF.

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  • Accepted: Jun 12, 2017
  • Online: Jun 26, 2017

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