Experimental and clinical evidence suggest that angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition may reduce cardiovascular (CV) risk by directly affecting endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis and thrombus formation. These direct effects are in addition to effects on vascular tone or pressure. The Health Outcomes and Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) study assessed the role of an ACE inhibitor ramipril in reducing CV events in 9297 patients > or = 55 years who were at high risk of CV events but did not have left ventricular dysfunction, heart failure, or high blood pressure at the time of study entry. In the overall HOPE population, the risk of the primary composite outcome (cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke) was reduced by 22% (p < 0.001), and in patients with diabetes plus one other CV risk, it was reduced by 25% (p = 0.0004). Ramipril treatment achieved risk reduction in patients with mild renal insufficiency (serum creatinine > or = 1.4 mg/dl). Ramipril treatment did not increase adverse events in patients with renal insufficiency. The Study to Evaluate Carotid Ultrasound changes in patients treated with Ramipril and Vitamin E (SECURE) demonstrated that ramipril 10 mg significantly reduced the rate of carotid intimal medial thickening, suggesting a direct effect on atherosclerotic progression.