Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate in dialysis patients with symptomatic heart failure New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II or III whether the addition of carvedilol to conventional therapy is associated with beneficial effects on cardiac architecture, function and clinical status.
Background: Congestive heart failure (CHF) in chronic hemodialyzed patients, particularly when associated with dilated cardiomyopathy, represents an ominous complication and is an independent risk factor for cardiac mortality.
Methods: We enrolled 114 dialysis patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. All patients were treated with carvedilol for 12 months in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. The patients underwent M-mode and two-dimensional echocardiography at baseline, 1, 6 and 12 months after the randomization. Each patient's clinical status was assessed using an NYHA functional classification that was determined after 6 and 12 months of treatment.
Results: Carvedilol treatment improved left ventricular (LV) function. In the active-treatment group, the increase in LV ejection fraction (from 26.3% to 34.8%, p < 0.05 vs. basal and placebo group) and the reduction of both LV end-diastolic volume (from 100 ml/m2 to 94 ml/m2, p < 0.05 vs. basal and placebo group) and end-systolic volume (from 74 ml/m2 to 62 ml/m2, p < 0.05 vs. basal and placebo group) reached statistical significance after six months of therapy, compared with baseline and corresponding placebo values, and they remained constant at one year of treatment (p < 0.05 vs. basal and placebo group). The clinical status of patients, assessed by NYHA functional classification, improved during the treatment period. Moreover, at the end of the trial, there were no patients in NYHA functional class IV in the carvedilol group, compared with 5.9% of the patients in the placebo arm.
Conclusions: One year of therapy with carvedilol in dialysis patients with CHF and dilated cardiomyopathy reduces LV volumes and improves LV function and clinical status.