It is believed that hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) might play a role in cardiac disease (heart failure (HF) and ischemia). Mutations within several genes are HH-associated, the most common being the HFE gene. In a large cohort of HF patients, we sought to determine the etiological role and the prognostic significance of HFE genotypes.
We studied 667 HF patients (72.7% men) with depressed systolic function, enrolled in a multicentre trial with a follow-up period of up to 5 years. All were genotyped for the known HFE variants C282Y, H63D and S65C.
The genotype and allele frequencies in the HF group were similar to the frequencies determined in the general Danish population. In multivariable analysis mortality was not predicted by C282Y-carrier status (HR 1.2, 95% CI: 0.8-1.7); H63D-carrier status (HR 1.0, 95% CI: 0.7-1.3); nor S65C-carrier status (HR 1.2, 95% CI: 0.7-2.0). We identified 27 (4.1%) homozygous or compound heterozygous carriers of HFE variants. None of these carriers had a clinical presentation suggesting hemochromatosis, but hemoglobin and ferritin levels were higher than in the rest of the cohort. Furthermore, a trend towards reduced mortality was seen in this group in univariate analyses (HR 0.4, 95% CI: 0.2-0.9, p = 0.03), but not in multivariate (HR 0.5, 95% CI: 0.2-1.2).
HFE genotypes do not seem to be a significant contributor to the etiology of heart failure in Denmark. HFE variants do not affect mortality in HF.