Renal implications of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockade in heart failure

Luis M. Ruilope, Vivencio Barrios, Massimo Volpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system actively participates in the derangement of renal function since the early stages of heart failure (HF). A diminished capacity to excrete sodium secondary to increased proximal tubular re-absorption and loss of the renal functional reserve are the two most relevant initial alterations of renal function in which angiotensin II has been proven to act directly. Meanwhile, the octapeptide contributes to maintain glomerular filtration rate (GFR) within normal limits through efferent arteriole vasoconstriction. Administration of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) or angiotensin receptor antagonists (ARA) may thus be accompanied by a functional fall in that parameter. Advanced age, higher initial serum creatinine, history of hypertension, diabetes and atrial fibrillation predict the onset of GFR impairment associated with blockade of the renin-angiotensin system. Concomitant administration of betablockers may help to protect renal function, and preliminary data indicate that the combination of ACEi and ARA is not accompanied by a higher renal risk. The good prognostic effects of aldosterone antagonists in HF does not seem to be related to intrarenal effects of these compounds with the exception of preventing potassium loss and hypokalemia. The systematic therapeutic use of drug(s) provided with beneficial renal effects, to treat arterial hypertension or myocardial ischemia, may contribute to delay of, or prevent the development of HF. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1545-1551
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Heart failure
  • Natriuresis
  • Renal functional reserve
  • Renin-angiotensin system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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