OBJECTIVES:The aim of this study was to evaluate whether preoperative clinical and test data could be used to predict the effects of myocardial revascularization on functional status and quality of life in patients with heart failure and ischemic LV dysfunction. BACKGROUND:Revascularization of viable myocardial segments has been shown to improve regional and global LV function. The effects of revascularization on exercise capacity and quality of life (QOL) are not well defined. METHODS:Sixty three patients (51 men, age 66+/-9 years) with moderate or worse LV dysfunction (LVEF 0.28+/-0.07) and symptomatic heart failure were studied before and after coronary artery bypass surgery. All patients underwent preoperative positron emission tomography (PET) using FDG and Rb-82 before and after dipyridamole stress; the extent of viable myocardium by PET was defined by the number of segments with metabolism-perfusion mismatch or ischemia. Dobutamine echocardiography (DbE) was performed in 47 patients; viability was defined by augmentation at low dose or the development of new or worsening wall motion abnormalities. Functional class, exercise testing and a QOL score (Nottingham Health Profile) were obtained at baseline and follow-up. RESULTS:Patients had wall motion abnormalities in 83+/-18% of LV segments. A mismatch pattern was identified in 12+/-15% of LV segments, and PET evidence of viability was detected in 30+/-21% of the LV. Viability was reported in 43+/-18% of the LV by DbE. The difference between pre- and postoperative exercise capacity ranged from a reduction of 2.8 to an augmentation of 5.2 METS. The degree of improvement of exercise capacity correlated with the extent of viability by PET (r = 0.54, p = 0.0001) but not the extent of viable myocardium by DbE (r = 0.02, p = 0.92). The area under the ROC curve for PET (0.76) exceeded that for DbE (0.66). In a multiple linear regression, the extent of viability by PET and nitrate use were the only independent predictors of improvement of exercise capacity (model r = 0.63, p = 0.0001). Change in Functional Class correlated weakly with the change in exercise capacity (r = 0.25), extent of viable myocardium by PET (r = 0.23) and extent of viability by DbE (r = 0.31). Four components of the quality of life score (energy, pain, emotion and mobility status) significantly improved over follow-up, but no correlations could be identified between quality of life scores and the results of preoperative testing or changes in exercise capacity. CONCLUSIONS:In patients with LV dysfunction, improvement of exercise capacity correlates with the extent of viable myocardium. Quality of life improves in most patients undergoing revascularization. However, its measurement by this index does not correlate with changes in other parameters nor is it readily predictable.