Background Several previous studies have suggested that detection of a third heart sound (S3) in patients with chronic congestive heart failure is associated with adverse long-term outcomes. However, the short-term prognostic value of identifying an S3 on admission in patients with acute heart failure (AHF) is not well established. We therefore analysed the in-hospital prognostic value of detecting an S3 on admission in hospitalised patients with AHF. Methods The Acute Decompensated Heart Failure Syndromes (ATTEND) study investigators enrolled 4107 patients hospitalised with AHF. Investigators evaluated the presence or absence of an S3 during routine physical examination. Results On admission to hospital, 1673 patients (41%) had an S3. Patients with an S3 had a higher heart rate, higher serum level of B-type natriuretic peptide and higher creatinine levels than patients without an S3. However, there were no significant differences of systolic blood pressure, serum sodium, haemoglobin, C-reactive protein and total bilirubin between the two groups. Multivariate analysis adjusted for various markers of disease severity revealed that only the presence of an S3 was independently associated with an increase of in-hospital all cause death [adjusted odds ratio (OR), 1.69; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.19-2.41; p = 0.003] and cardiac death (adjusted OR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.08-2.54; p = 0.020) among the congestive physical findings related to heart failure (S3, rales, jugular venous distension and peripheral oedema). Conclusions Detecting an S3 on admission was independently associated with adverse in-hospital outcomes in patients with AHF. Our findings suggest that careful bedside assessment is clinically meaningful.
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