Background: The prevalence of chronic heart failure (CHF) rises with increasing age, from < 1% in those below 65 years of age to > 5% in those over 65 years of age and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in older people. Recent European guidelines point to a major deficiency in our knowledge of how to treat diastolic chronic heart failure, and a lack of information on treatment for heart failure in the elderly in general.
Aims: The aims of this trial are to assess the potential benefits of the ACE inhibitor perindopril to treat chronic heart failure in elderly people, in the absence of any major left ventricular systolic dysfunction.
Subjects: One thousand people over the age of 70 years will be recruited into this study. Evidence of chronic heart failure will be confirmed by clinical criteria and echocardiography.
Methods: Once a diagnosis of chronic heart failure has been confirmed, the patient will receive either perindopril or placebo in addition to their usual treatment. Death, and unplanned heart failure related hospitalisations, are the primary outcomes. Quality of life, as measured by the Guyatt questionnaire will be assessed at the beginning of the study and at 1 year. Sub-studies of this trial include a 6-min walking test and more detailed evaluation of ventricular function (as assessed by echocardiography). Both parameters will be measured at 8 weeks and 1 year, and analysed against baseline data. Cognitive function in this group of patients will also be evaluated at baseline and 1 year. This trial is due to report in the year 2001.