Background: It has been suggested that an extensive contractile reserve identified recognised by means of dobutamine stress echocardiography may predict a better prognosis in patients with severe left ventricular dysfunction at rest. However, the clinical use of dobutamine stress echocardiography may be limited in patients with chronic heart failure by the substantial proportion of such patients treated with beta-blockers, since the inotropic response to adrenergic stimulation is known to be attenuated in patients receiving beta-adrenoceptor blockers. Enoximone is a positive inotropic agent that inhibits cyclic adenosine monophosphate-specific phosphosdiesterase. We therefore tested the hypothesis that enoximone may be an alternative to dobutamine in evaluating left ventricular contractile reserve in patients with systolic dysfunction on chronic beta-blocker therapy. Methods: We studied 26 patients (21 males and five females) with a mean age of 58 ± 10 years: 11 were not receiving beta-blockers (noBB group); 15 were receiving carvedilol at a mean dose of 34 mg/day (BB group). Dobutamine was infused at doses of 5 and 10 micrograms/kg/min, and enoximone at a dose of 1.5 mg/kg. Results: The ejection fraction in the noBB group increased by 9% with dobutamine and 8.73% with enoximone (p = 0.86); in the BB group, it increased by 6% with dobutamine and 8.94% with enoximone (p = 0.03). Regional peak systolic velocities were evaluated by means of tissue Doppler imaging in four basal and four medium level segments. In the noBB group, they increased more with dobutamine than with enoximone in three of the eight segments; no significant differences were found in the BB group. Dobutamine induced non-sustained ventricular tachycardia in three patients and supraventricular tachycardia in one, whereas enoximone did not induce any repetitive arrhythmias. Conclusions: Enoximone might be preferable to low-dose dobutamine for evaluating left ventricular contractile reserve in chronically beta-blocked heart failure patients as it is slightly more potent and has a better safety profile.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging