Background: The ELITE study showed an association between the angiotensin II antagonist losartan and an unexpected survival benefit in elderly heart-failure patients, compared with captopril, an angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. We did the ELITE II Losartan Heart Failure Survival Study to confirm whether losartan is superior to captopril in improving survival and is better tolerated.
Methods: We undertook a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial of 3,152 patients aged 60 years or older with New York Heart Association class II-IV heart failure and ejection fraction of 40% or less. Patients, stratified for beta-blocker use, were randomly assigned losartan (n=1,578) titrated to 50 mg once daily or captopril (n=1,574) titrated to 50 mg three times daily. The primary and secondary endpoints were all-cause mortality, and sudden death or resuscitated arrest. We assessed safety and tolerability. Analysis was by intention to treat.
Findings: Median follow-up was 555 days. There were no significant differences in all-cause mortality (11.7 vs 10.4% average annual mortality rate) or sudden death or resuscitated arrests (9.0 vs 7.3%) between the two treatment groups (hazard ratios 1.13 [95.7% CI 0.95-1.35], p=0.16 and 1.25 [95% CI 0.98-1.60], p=0.08). Significantly fewer patients in the losartan group (excluding those who died) discontinued study treatment because of adverse effects (9.7 vs 14.7%, p<0.001), including cough (0.3 vs 2.7%).