Background: In the studies of left ventricular dysfunction (SOLVD), enalapril reduced mortality in patients with symptomatic but not asymptomatic left ventricular systolic dysfunction during the trial. We did a 12-year follow-up of SOLVD to establish if the mortality reduction with enalapril among patients with heart failure was sustained, and whether a subsequent reduction in mortality would emerge among those with asymptomatic ventricular dysfunction.
Methods: Of the 6797 patients previously enrolled in the SOLVD prevention and treatment trials, we ascertained the subsequent vital status of 5165 individuals who were alive when the trials had been completed. Follow-up was done through direct contacts in Belgium and linkages with national death registries and federal beneficiary or historic tax summary files in the USA and Canada.
Findings: Follow-up was 99.8% (6784/6797) complete. In the prevention trial, 50.9% (1074/2111) of the enalapril group had died compared with 56.4% (1195/2117) of the placebo group (generalised Wilcoxon p=0.001). In the treatment trial, 79.8% (1025/1285) of the enalapril group had died compared with 80.8% (1038/1284) of the placebo group (generalised Wilcoxon p=0.01). The reductions in cardiac deaths were significant and similar in both trials. When data for the prevention and treatment trials were combined, the hazard ratio for death was 0.90 for the enalapril group compared with the placebo group (95% CI 0.84-0.95, generalised Wilcoxon p=0.0003). Enalapril extended median survival by 9.4 months in the combined trials (95% CI 2.8-16.5, p=0.004).
Interpretation: Treatment with enalapril for 3-4 years led to a sustained improvement in survival beyond the original trial period in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction, with an important increase in life expectancy.