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1) CONSENSUS ( Effects of enalapril on mortality in severe congestive heart failure. Results of the Cooperative North Scandinavian Enalapril Survival Study.) 1987

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To evaluate the influence of the angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor enalapril (2.5 to 40 mg per day) on the prognosis of severe congestive heart failure (New York Heart Association [NYHA] functional class IV), we randomly assigned 253 patients in a double-blind study to receive either placebo (n = 126) or enalapril (n = 127). Conventional treatment for heart failure, including the use of other vasodilators, was continued in both groups. Follow-up averaged 188 days (range, 1 day to 20 months). The crude mortality at the end of six months (primary end point) was 26 percent in the enalapril group and 44 percent in the placebo group--a reduction of 40 percent (P = 0.002). Mortality was reduced by 31 percent at one year (P = 0.001). By the end of the study, there had been 68 deaths in the placebo group and 50 in the enalapril group--a reduction of 27 percent (P = 0.003). The entire reduction in total mortality was found to be among patients with progressive heart failure (a reduction of 50 percent), whereas no difference was seen in the incidence of sudden cardiac death. A significant improvement in NYHA classification was observed in the enalapril group, together with a reduction in heart size and a reduced requirement for other medication for heart failure. The overall withdrawal rate was similar in both groups, but hypotension requiring withdrawal occurred in seven patients in the enalapril group and in no patients in the placebo group. After the initial dose of enalapril was reduced to 2.5 mg daily in high-risk patients, this side effect was less frequent. We conclude that the addition of enalapril to conventional therapy in patients with severe congestive heart failure can reduce mortality and improve symptoms. The beneficial effect on mortality is due to a reduction in death from the progression of heart failure.


2) SOLVD (Effect of enalapril on mortality and the development of heart failure in asymptomatic patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fractions ) 1992


BACKGROUND. It is not known whether the treatment of patients with asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction reduces mortality and morbidity. We studied the effect of an angiotensin-converting--enzyme inhibitor, enalapril, on total mortality and mortality from cardiovascular causes, the development of heart failure, and hospitalization for heart failure among patients with ejection fractions of 0.35 or less who were not receiving drug treatment for heart failure. METHODS. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either placebo (n = 2117) or enalapril (n = 2111) at doses of 2.5 to 20 mg per day in a double-blind trial. Follow-up averaged 37.4 months. RESULTS. There were 334 deaths in the placebo group, as compared with 313 in the enalapril group (reduction in risk, 8 percent by the log-rank test; 95 percent confidence interval, -8 percent [an increase of 8 percent] to 21 percent; P = 0.30). The reduction in mortality from cardiovascular causes was larger but was not statistically significant (298 deaths in the placebo group vs. 265 in the enalapril group; risk reduction, 12 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, -3 to 26 percent; P = 0.12). When we combined patients in whom heart failure developed and those who died, the total number of deaths and cases of heart failure was lower in the enalapril group than in the placebo group (630 vs. 818; risk reduction, 29 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 21 to 36 percent; P less than 0.001). In addition, fewer patients given enalapril died or were hospitalized for heart failure (434 in the enalapril group; vs. 518 in the placebo group; risk reduction, 20 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 9 to 30 percent; P less than 0.001). CONCLUSIONS. The angiotensin-converting--enzyme inhibitor enalapril significantly reduced the incidence of heart failure and the rate of related hospitalizations, as compared with the rates in the group given placebo, among patients with asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction. There was also a trend toward fewer deaths due to cardiovascular causes among the patients who received enalapril.


3. CIBIS II (The Cardiac Insufficiency Bisoprolol Study II), 1999


BACKGROUND: In patients with heart failure, beta-blockade has improved morbidity and left-ventricular function, but the impact on survival is uncertain. We investigated the efficacy of bisoprolol, a beta1 selective adrenoceptor blocker in decreasing all-cause mortality in chronic heart failure. METHODS: In a multicentre double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial in Europe, we enrolled 2647 symptomatic patients in New York Heart Association class III or IV, with left-ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or less receiving standard therapy with diuretics and inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme. We randomly assigned patients bisoprolol 1.25 mg (n=1327) or placebo (n=1320) daily, the drug being progressively increased to a maximum of 10 mg per day. Patients were followed up for a mean of 1.3 years. Analysis was by intention to treat. FINDINGS: CIBIS-II was stopped early, after the second interim analysis, because bisoprolol showed a significant mortality benefit. All-cause mortality was significantly lower with bisoprolol than on placebo (156 [11.8%] vs 228 [17.3%] deaths with a hazard ratio of 0.66 (95% CI 0.54-0.81, p<0.0001). There were significantly fewer sudden deaths among patients on bisoprolol than in those on placebo (48 [3.6%] vs 83 [6.3%] deaths), with a hazard ratio of 0.56 (0.39-0.80, p=0.0011). Treatment effects were independent of the severity or cause of heart failure. INTERPRETATION: Beta-blocker therapy had benefits for survival in stable heart-failure patients. Results should not, however, be extrapolated to patients with severe class IV symptoms and recent instability because safety and efficacy has not been established in these patients.


4. COPERNICUS (The Carvedilol Prospective Randomized Cumulative Survival) 2001


Background Previous trials (Metoprolol CR/XL Randomised Intervention Trial in Congestive Heart Failure [MERIT-HF], Cardiac Insufficiency Bisoprolol Study [CIBIS] II) have demonstrated a mortality benefit of β-adrenergic blockade in patients with mild to moderate heart failure. The recent Carvedilol Prospective Randomized Cumulative Survival (COPERNICUS) trial has extended these results to a more advanced patient population. This trial did not, however, include patients who could not reach compensation, patients with far advanced heart failure symptoms, or a significant number of black patients. Future studies of β-blockade may focus on these patients or patients with asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction
Methods It was unclear prior to the COPERNICUS trial whether patients with advanced heart failure would derive a benefit from beta-blockade, as these are the patients who are most dependent on adrenergic support. The COPERNICUS trial was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study of the effect of carvedilol, a nonselective beta-blocker with alpha1 blocking properties and anti-oxidant effects on mortality in patients with more advanced heart failure. To be randomized in this trial, a patient had to have heart failure symptoms of heart failure at rest or on minimal exertion for at least 2 months. While New York Heart Association (NYHA) class was not assessed in this trial, these criteria fit the NYHA class III or IV criteria. Patients also had to have an ejection fraction of 0.25 or less, and had to be on ACE inhibitors and diuretics for at least 2 months. Importantly, patients with more than minimal evidence of fluid retention (pulmonary or peripheral edema) were excluded, as were patients in the intensive care unit, and patients who had recently received class IV diuretics or inotropes within 4 days.
Results As the COPERNICUS trial has only been presented orally, the results presented here are preliminary. The COPERNICUS trial recruited 2289 patients from 152 sites who were randomized to carvedilol (n = 1156) or placebo (n = 1133) and were followed for a mean of 316 days. In the United States, 482 patients were randomized at 117 sites, and only 121 patients in the COPERNICUS trial were black. The study was stopped early for a highly significant mortality benefit. Carvedilol reduced mortality by 35% (95% confidence interval, 19-48% reduction) and the annual placebo mortality in this study was 18.5%, suggesting an advanced heart failure population. Subgroup analysis showed a consistent benefit across all strata, and permanent treatment withdrawal was lower in the carvedilol group than in the placebo group, suggesting good tolerability of carvedilol.


5) MERIT-HF(Effects of controlled-release metoprolol on total mortality, hospitalizations, and well-being in patients with heart failure: the Metoprolol CR/XL Randomized Intervention Trial in congestive heart failure) 2000


CONTEXT: Results from recent studies on the effects of beta1-blockade in patients with heart failure demonstrated a 34% reduction in total mortality. However, the effect of beta1-blockade on the frequency of hospitalizations, symptoms, and quality of life in patients with heart failure has not been fully explored. OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of the beta1-blocker controlled-release/extended-release metoprolol succinate (metoprolol CR/XL) on mortality, hospitalization, symptoms, and quality of life in patients with heart failure. DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind controlled trial, preceded by a 2-week single-blind placebo run-in period, conducted from February 14, 1997, to October 31, 1998, with a mean follow-up of 1 year. SETTING: Three hundred thirteen sites in 14 countries. PARTICIPANTS: Patients (n = 3991) with chronic heart failure, New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II to IV, and ejection fraction of 0.40 or less who were stabilized with optimum standard therapy. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomized to metoprolol CR/XL, 25 mg once per day (NYHA class II), or 12.5 mg once per day (NYHA class III or IV), titrated for 6 to 8 weeks up to a target dosage of 200 mg once per day (n = 1990); or matching placebo (n = 2001). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Total mortality or any hospitalization (time to first event), number of hospitalizations for worsening heart failure, and change in NYHA class, by intervention group; quality of life was assessed in a substudy of 741 patients. RESULTS: The incidence of all predefined end points was lower in the metoprolol CR/XL group than in the placebo group, including total mortality or all-cause hospitalizations (the prespecified second primary end point; 641 vs 767 events; risk reduction, 19%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 10%-27%; P<.001); total mortality or hospitalizations due to worsening heart failure (311 vs 439 events; risk reduction, 31%; 95% CI, 20%-40%; P<.001), number of hospitalizations due to worsening heart failure (317 vs 451; P<.001); and number of days in hospital due to worsening heart failure (3401 vs 5303 days; P<.001). NYHA functional class, assessed by physicians, and McMaster Overall Treatment Evaluation score, assessed by patients, both improved in the metoprolol CR/XL group compared with the placebo group (P = .003 and P = .009, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: In this study of patients with symptomatic heartfailure, metoprolol CR/XL improved survival, reduced the need for hospitalizations due to worsening heart failure, improved NYHA functional class, and had beneficial effects on patient well-being.


6) CHARM (Mortality and morbidity reduction with Candesartan in patients with chronic heart failure and left ventricular systolic dysfunction) 2004


BACKGROUND: Patients with symptomatic chronic heart failure (CHF) and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) have a high risk of death and hospitalization for CHF deterioration despite therapies with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, and even an aldosterone antagonist. To determine whether the angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) candesartan decreases cardiovascular mortality, morbidity, and all-cause mortality in patients with CHF and depressed LVEF, a prespecified analysis of the combined Candesartan in Heart Failure Assessment of Reduction in Mortality and morbidity (CHARM) low LVEF trials was performed. CHARM is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter, international trial program. METHODS AND RESULTS: New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II through IV CHF patients with an LVEF of < or =40% were randomized to candesartan or placebo in 2 complementary parallel trials (CHARM-Alternative, for patients who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors, and CHARM-Added, for patients who were receiving ACE inhibitors). Mortality and morbidity were determined in 4576 low LVEF patients (2289 candesartan and 2287 placebo), titrated as tolerated to a target dose of 32 mg once daily, and observed for 2 to 4 years (median, 40 months). The primary outcome (time to first event by intention to treat) was cardiovascular death or CHF hospitalization for each trial, with all-cause mortality a secondary end point in the pooled analysis of the low LVEF trials. Of the patients in the candesartan group, 817 (35.7%) experienced cardiovascular death or a CHF hospitalization as compared with 944 (41.3%) in the placebo group (HR 0.82; 95% CI 0.74 to 0.90; P<0.001) with reduced risk for both cardiovascular deaths (521 [22.8%] versus 599 [26.2%]; HR 0.84 [95% CI 0.75 to 0.95]; P=0.005) and CHF hospitalizations (516 [22.5%] versus 642 [28.1%]; HR 0.76 [95% CI 0.68 to 0.85]; P<0.001). It is important to note that all-cause mortality also was significantly reduced by candesartan (642 [28.0%] versus 708 [31.0%]; HR 0.88 [95% CI 0.79 to 0.98]; P=0.018). No significant heterogeneity for the beneficial effects of candesartan was found across prespecified and subsequently identified subgroups including treatment with ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, an aldosterone antagonist, or their combinations. The study drug was discontinued because of adverse effects by 23.1% of patients in the candesartan group and 18.8% in the placebo group; the reasons included increased creatinine (7.1% versus 3.5%), hypotension (4.2% versus 2.1%), and hyperkalemia (2.8% versus 0.5%), respectively (all P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Candesartan significantly reduces all-cause mortality, cardiovascular death, and heart failure hospitalizations in patients with CHF and LVEF < or =40% when added to standard therapies including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and an aldosterone antagonist. Routine monitoring of blood pressure, serum creatinine, and serum potassium is warranted.

7)  Val-HF (A Randomized Trial of the Angiotensin-Receptor Blocker Valsartan in Chronic Heart Failure), 2004

Background Actions of angiotensin II may contribute to the progression of heart failure despite treatment with currently recommended drugs. We therefore evaluated the long-term effects of the addition of the angiotensin-receptor blocker valsartan to standard therapy for heart failure.
Methods A total of 5010 patients with heart failure of New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II, III, or IV were randomly assigned to receive 160 mg of valsartan or placebo twice daily. The primary outcomes were mortality and the combined end point of mortality and morbidity, defined as the incidence of cardiac arrest with resuscitation, hospitalization for heart failure, or receipt of intravenous inotropic or vasodilator therapy for at least four hours.
Results Overall mortality was similar in the two groups. The incidence of the combined end point, however, was 13.2 percent lower with valsartan than with placebo (relative risk, 0.87; 97.5 percent confidence interval, 0.77 to 0.97; P=0.009), predominantly because of a lower number of patients hospitalized for heart failure: 455 (18.2 percent) in the placebo group and 346 (13.8 percent) in the valsartan group (P<0.001). Treatment with valsartan also resulted in significant improvements in NYHA class, ejection fraction, signs and symptoms of heart failure, and quality of life as compared with placebo (P<0.01). In a post hoc analysis of the combined end point and mortality in subgroups defined according to base-line treatment with angiotensin-converting–enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or beta-blockers, valsartan had a favorable effect in patients receiving neither or one of these types of drugs but an adverse effect in patients receiving both types of drugs.
Conclusions Valsartan significantly reduces the combined end point of mortality and morbidity and improves clinical signs and symptoms in patients with heart failure, when added to prescribed therapy. However, the post hoc observation of an adverse effect on mortality and morbidity in the subgroup receiving valsartan, an ACE inhibitor, and a beta-blocker raises concern about the potential safety of this specific combination.

8) COMET (Comparison of carvedilol and metoprolol on clinical outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure in the Carvedilol Or Metoprolol European Trial)

BACKGROUND: Beta blockers reduce mortality in patients who have chronic heart failure, systolic dysfunction, and are on background treatment with diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. We aimed to compare the effects of carvedilol and metoprolol on clinical outcome. METHODS: In a multicentre, double-blind, and randomised parallel group trial, we assigned 1511 patients with chronic heart failure to treatment with carvedilol (target dose 25 mg twice daily) and 1518 to metoprolol (metoprolol tartrate, target dose 50 mg twice daily). Patients were required to have chronic heart failure (NYHA II-IV), previous admission for a cardiovascular reason, an ejection fraction of less than 0.35, and to have been treated optimally with diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors unless not tolerated. The primary endpoints were all-cause mortality and the composite endpoint of all-cause mortality or all-cause admission. Analysis was done by intention to treat. FINDINGS: The mean study duration was 58 months (SD 6). The mean ejection fraction was 0.26 (0.07) and the mean age 62 years (11). The all-cause mortality was 34% (512 of 1511) for carvedilol and 40% (600 of 1518) for metoprolol (hazard ratio 0.83 [95% CI 0.74-0.93], p=0.0017). The reduction of all-cause mortality was consistent across predefined subgroups. The composite endpoint of mortality or all-cause admission occurred in 1116 (74%) of 1511 on carvedilol and in 1160 (76%) of 1518 on metoprolol (0.94 [0.86-1.02], p=0.122). Incidence of side-effects and drug withdrawals did not differ by much between the two study groups. INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that carvedilol extends survival compared with metoprolol


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