Background: Clinical trials emphasize mortality and morbidity endpoints. Aims: To bring relevance of trial results to point of care by examining the prognostic and therapeutic value of individual signs and symptoms (S&S). Methods: We analysed data from 5010 patients with stable chronic heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction who were participants in the Val-HeFT study. Individual S&S were stratified by severity. Treatment differences between valsartan and placebo were analysed by S&S strata at baseline and endpoint by logistical regression, and an overall S&S score by ANCOVA. Hazard ratios of S&S strata were calculated for mortality and heart failure hospitalisation. Prognostic contributions of S&S to other variables were determined by multivariate analysis. Results: At endpoint, there were significantly fewer valsartan and more placebo patients with severe symptoms. Over time, improvement in the S&S overall score was significantly more favourable for valsartan than placebo. S&S strata were significantly predictive of risk for hospitalisation and death. S&S were each independent and incremental predictors of mortality compared to other variables. Symptom strata separated out moderately symptomatic patients with a mortality rate which was intermediate between that for NYHA Class II and III. Conclusion: Risk stratification of individual S&S defined prognosis, identified patients with an intermediate mortality between Class II and III, and treatment benefits of valsartan over placebo.
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