Background: Levosimendan is a novel inodilator that improves central haemodynamics and symptoms of patients with decompensated chronic heart failure. The role, however, of repeated levosimendan infusions in the management of these patients has not yet been properly assessed.
Purpose: This randomised placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of serial levosimendan infusions on cardiac geometry and function, and on biomarkers of myocardial injury and neurohormonal and immune activation (troponin T, N-terminal B-type natriuretic pro-peptide (NT-proBNP), C reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin (IL) 6) in patients with advanced heart failure.
Methods: 25 patients with decompensated chronic heart failure were randomised (2:1) to receive five serial 24-h infusions (every 3 weeks) of either levosimendan (n = 17) or placebo (n = 8), and were evaluated echocardiographically and biochemically before and after each drug infusion and 30 days after the final infusion.
Results: Following treatment, cardiac end-systolic and end-diastolic dimension and volume indices were significantly reduced only in the levosimendan-treated patients (p<0.01). A significant decrease in NT-proBNP (p<0.01), high-sensitivity CRP (p<0.01) and plasma IL6 (p = 0.05) was also observed in the levosimendan group, whereas these markers remained unchanged in the placebo group; similar changes were observed after each drug infusion. Although the number of patients with a positive troponin T (⩾0.01 ng/ml) was not different between the two groups at baseline, it was significantly higher in the placebo-treated group during the final evaluation (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Serial levosimendan treatments improved left ventricular performance and modulated neurohormonal and immune activation beneficially in patients with advanced heart failure, without increasing myocardial injury.
- CRP, C reactive protein
- NT-proBNP, N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide
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Published Online First 18 July 2006
Competing interests: None declared.