Galectin-3, a protein implicated in myocardial fibrosis and remodeling, may predict the likelihood of a heart failure readmission, according to a study presented Sept.19 during a poster session at the 15th annual scientific meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) in Boston.
Previous studies have shown galectin-3 to be a “worthwhile predictor of risk that can predict an adverse outcome in the short term as well as the long term,” study investigator James L. Januzzi, MD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told Cardiovascular Business during an interview.
In the most recent study, researchers measured galectin-3 levels in 1,005 patients diagnosed with heart failure (HF) across three studies: COACH (Coordinating Study Evaluating Outcomes of Advising and Counseling in Heart Failure); PRIDE (Pro-BNP Investigation of Dyspnea in the Emergency Department); and H 2328 (University of Maryland Pro-BNP for Diagnosis and Prognosis in Patients Presenting with Dyspnea Study).
The researchers calculated meta-analysis risk ratios for HF-related hospitalizations at 30, 60 and 90 days after enrollment.
Results showed that compared to HF patients with galectin-3 levels below 17.8 ng/mL, those who had elevated levels were more likely to be readmitted for HF within 30, 60 or 90 days after initial hospital discharge.
The researchers concluded that the presence of galectin-3 upon discharge from hospitalization due to decompensated HF can predict a future HF rehospitalization.
Patients who present with acute decompensated HF get standard treatment, Januzzi said. “The problem is that while some patients respond well to this treatment, some may not, and being able to identify those patients who are at a very high risk for short-term rehospitalization or death is vital.
“One in four heart failure patients present within 30 days of hospital discharge,” Januzzi offered. "Being able to identify who that one person is is crucially important.”
Januzzi said universal testing of galectin-3 may impact healthcare costs by decreasing readmission rates. “These types of tools need to show us a path as to how we can better care for our patients,” Januzzi concluded.