OBJECTIVE--To determine the efficacy and dose requirements of captopril to reduce functional mitral regurgitation in patients with dilated heart failure. DESIGN--A randomised double blind placebo controlled parallel arm trial. Incremental daily doses of 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg captopril used for a four week period each for a total of 12 weeks preceded by a two week placebo washout. Twenty eight ambulatory patients (mean age 72) New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II or III with apparently controlled ischaemic dilated heart failure (ejection fraction 29% (0.04%)) on digoxin, diuretics, and nitrates were randomised. All had at least grade 2/4 functional mitral regurgitation (> 5 cm2 regurgitant area on colour flow Doppler). RESULTS--Twenty three patients completed the study (13 on placebo and 10 on captopril). Significant improvements were confined to the captopril group. Compared with placebo the following improvements were noted in the captopril treated group: mitral regurgitant area decreased from a threshold at 50 mg/day (p < 0.05, mean (95% confidence interval (95% CI)) 3.1 (0.2 to 6.0) cm2), with a further decrease at 100 mg/day (p < 0.01, mean (95% CI) 5.3 (3.1 to 7.5) cm2). Significant improvements in all the other measurements were noted only after 100 mg/day. Stroke volume increased (p < 0.01, mean (95% CI) 11, (1.4 to 21) ml), systemic vascular resistance decreased (p < 0.05, mean (95% CI) 414 (35 to 793) dyn s cm5), left atrial area decreased (p < 0.05, mean (95% CI) 4.3 (0.03 to 8.6) cm2), and deceleration time increased (p < 0.01, mean (95% CI) 52 ms (7 to 98) ms). Left ventricular diameter decreased marginally (p = 0.06, mean (95% CI) 4 (-0.05 to 9 mm). Duke activity index score increased (p < 0.001, median (95% CI) 6.8 (4.5 to 12) points). Heart rate, mean arterial blood pressure, serum creatinine, and serum potassium did not change with either placebo or captopril. No patient was withdrawn directly due to the side effects of captopril. In an open phase nine placebo patients given captopril in rapid increments reaching 100 mg/day in the fourth week showed similar improvements. CONCLUSION--Captopril is efficacious in reducing functional mitral regurgitation in dilated heart failure. Patients require and must tolerate high doses (50-100 mg/day) for additive effects over supervised conventional treatment to occur.
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