Purpose: To examine the efficacy of ACE inhibitors for treatment of nondiabetic renal disease.
Data sources: 11 randomized, controlled trials comparing the efficacy of antihypertensive regimens including ACE inhibitors to the efficacy of regimens without ACE inhibitors in predominantly nondiabetic renal disease.
Study selection: Studies were identified by searching the MEDLINE database for English-language studies evaluating the effects of ACE inhibitors on renal disease in humans between May 1977 (when ACE inhibitors were approved for trials in humans) and September 1997.
Data extraction: Data on 1860 nondiabetic patients were analyzed.
Data synthesis: Mean duration of follow-up was 2.2 years. Patients in the ACE inhibitor group had a greater mean decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (4.5 mm Hg [95% CI, 3.0 to 6.1 mm Hg]) and 2.3 mm Hg [CI, 1.4 to 3.2 mm Hg], respectively) and urinary protein excretion (0.46 g/d [CI, 0.33 to 0.59 g/d]). After adjustment for patient and study characteristics at baseline and changes in systolic blood pressure and urinary protein excretion during follow-up, relative risks in the ACE inhibitor group were 0.69 (CI, 0.51 to 0.94) for end-stage renal disease and 0.70 (CI, 0.55 to 0.88) for the combined outcome of doubling of the baseline serum creatinine concentration or end-stage renal disease. Patients with greater urinary protein excretion at baseline benefited more from ACE inhibitor therapy (P = 0.03 and P = 0.001, respectively), but the data were inconclusive as to whether the benefit extended to patients with baseline urinary protein excretion less than 0.5 g/d.
Conclusion: Antihypertensive regimens that include ACE inhibitors are more effective than regimens without ACE inhibitors in slowing the progression of nondiabetic renal disease. The beneficial effect of ACE inhibitors is mediated by factors in addition to decreasing blood pressure and urinary protein excretion and is greater in patients with proteinuria. Angiotensin-converting inhibitors are indicated for treatment of nondiabetic patients with chronic renal disease and proteinuria and, possibly, those without proteinuria.