Eleven patients with coronary artery disease and chronic heart failure were studied before and three months after the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril was added to their frusemide medication. The following were measured: left ventricular pressure and volume with transient occlusion of the inferior vena cava, radionuclide angiography, and hormone concentrations in plasma. As in other reported studies, the clinical condition of the patients improved and their exercise tolerance increased moderately. Addition of enalapril reduced end diastolic and systolic pressure, reduced ventricular volume, and concomitantly increased the ejection fraction. The end systolic pressure-volume relation shifted to the left as it did in a similar animal study. In the animal study unloading by a vasodilator did not induce a leftward shift, so it can be inferred that in the present study unloading combined with a decrease in the angiotensin concentration was instrumental in remodelling the heart. Though unloading was expected to have a beneficial effect on the oxygen supply/demand ratio of the heart, the patients still showed the same drop in the ejection fraction during exercise as they did before treatment with enalapril, and early diastolic filling did not improve. Normally, regression of cardiac dilatation is only found if pump function improves; the present study showed that unloading in combination with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition reshapes the ventricle without improving intrinsic pump function.
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