"Escape" of aldosterone production in patients with left ventricular dysfunction treated with an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor: implications for therapy

B Pitt
Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy 1995, 9 (1): 145-9
Despite the findings in randomized trials of a significant effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors in reducing morbidity and mortality of patients with symptomatic left ventricular dysfunction, the morbidity and mortality of these patients remains relatively high. One potential strategy to further improve morbidity and mortality in these patients is blockade of a aldosterone. Many clinicians have assumed that ACE inhibitors would block both angiotensin II and aldosterone. However, there are data to suggest that aldosterone production may "escape" despite the use of an ACE inhibitor. An escape of aldosterone production has several important consequences, including: sodium retention, potassium and magnesium loss, myocardial collagen production, ventricular hypertrophy, myocardial norepinephrine release, endothelial dysfunction, and a decrease in serum high density lipoprotein cholesterol. Due to the potential importance of these mechanisms, the finding that there is a significant correlation between aldosterone production and mortality in patients with heart failure, as well as evidence that an aldosterone antagonist, spironolactone, when administered to patients with heart failure treated with conventional therapy including an ACE inhibitor results in increased diuresis and symptomatic improvement, an international prospective multicenter study has been organized, the Randomized Aldactone Evaluation Study (RALES Pilot Study), to evaluate the safety of blocking the effects of aldosterone in patients with heart failure treated with an ACE inhibitor.

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