Purpose: Antihypertensive medications have different effects on left ventricular mass. We conducted a meta-analysis of double-blind trials that measured the effects of antihypertensive therapy on left ventricular mass.
Methods: Medical databases and review articles were screened for double-blind, randomized controlled trials (through September 2002) that reported the effects of diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium antagonists, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, or angiotensin II receptor antagonists on echocardiographic left ventricular mass in essential hypertension. Treatment arms of the same drug class, weighted for the number of patients, were combined. Analysis of covariance was performed to detect differences among drug classes in effects on left ventricular structure.
Results: Eighty trials with 146 active treatment arms (n = 3767 patients) and 17 placebo arms (n = 346 patients) were identified. Adjusted for treatment duration and change in diastolic blood pressure, there was a significant difference (P = 0.004) among medication classes: left ventricular mass index decreased by 13% with angiotensin II receptor antagonists (95% confidence interval [CI]: 8% to 18%), by 11% with calcium antagonists (95% CI: 9% to 13%), by 10% with ACE inhibitors (95% CI: 8% to 12%), by 8% with diuretics (95% CI: 5% to 10%), and by 6% with beta-blockers (95% CI: 3% to 8%). In pairwise comparisons, angiotensin II receptor antagonists, calcium antagonists, and ACE inhibitors were more effective at reducing left ventricular mass than were beta-blockers (all P <0.05 with Bonferroni correction).
Conclusions: Antihypertensive drug classes have different effects on left ventricular mass reduction. Whether a greater reduction of left ventricular mass results in better clinical outcomes remains to be determined.