Heart failure is today one of the most serious health problems of modern industrialized societies. The increase in the mean age of the population is an additional factor which favours a high incidence of episodes of heart failure. Age is also a relevant factor in mortality linked with heart failure. On this basis more emphasis has been given by researchers and physicians to improve a preventive and therapeutic approach to heart failure. For many years the pharmacological treatment of heart failure patients was based on the increase in inotropism through the digitalis and on the reduction in sodium-water retention through diuretics, while less importance was given to the improvement of the afterload. We have had knowledge of vasodilatory drugs in chronic heart failure for at least 20 years but only 10 years ago with the Vasodilator-Heart Failure Trial (V-HeFTI), it was proved that the combination of hydralazine and nitrates in addition to the conventional treatment, improved the survival of patients affected by moderate-severe heart failure. With the advent of the ACE-inhibitors, in the '80s, the first studies concerning the role of such drugs in heart failure were carried out. In the Cooperative North Scandinavian Enalapril Survival Study (CONSENSUS I) it was proved for the first time that an ACE-inhibitor (enalapril), added to the conventional heart failure therapy, improved the survival of patients with severe congestive heart failure (NYHA class IV). The result was so extraordinary that the study was interrupted for ethical reasons. However, it has raised a considerable interest in the study of the ACE-inhibitors in heart failure and now it has been proved that such drugs are a milestone in a correct pharmacological approach to heart failure.
|Translated title of the contribution||The role of ACE inhibitors in heart failure. Lessons of CONSENSUS, SOLVD and V-HeFTII|
|Journal||Annali Italiani di Medicina Interna|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1994|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine