Background: Long-term administration of angiotensin-converting--enzyme (ACE) inhibitors has been shown to improve survival in patients with symptomatic left ventricular failure and to attenuate left ventricular dilatation in patients with myocardial infarction. We studied whether mortality could be reduced during the 6 months after an acute myocardial infarction with use of the ACE inhibitor enalapril.
Methods: At 103 Scandinavian centers patients with acute myocardial infarctions and blood pressure above 100/60 mm Hg were randomly assigned to treatment with either enalapril or placebo, in addition to conventional therapy. Therapy was initiated with an intravenous infusion of enalapril (enalaprilat) within 24 hours after the onset of chest pain, followed by administration of oral enalapril.
Results: Of the 6090 patients enrolled, 3046 were assigned to placebo and 3044 to enalapril. The life-table mortality rates in the two groups at one and six months were not significantly different (6.3 and 10.2 percent in the placebo group vs. 7.2 and 11.0 percent in the enalapril group, P = 0.26). The relative risk of death in the enalapril group was 1.10 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.93 to 1.29). Death due to progressive heart failure occurred in 104 patients (3.4 percent) in the placebo group and 132 (4.3 percent) in the enalapril group (P = 0.06). Therapy had to be changed because of worsening heart failure in 30 percent of the placebo group and 27 percent of the enalapril group (P less than 0.006). Early hypotension (systolic pressure less than 90 mm Hg or diastolic pressure less than 50 mm Hg) occurred in 12 percent of the enalapril group and 3 percent of the placebo group (P less than 0.001).
Conclusions: Enalapril therapy started within 24 hours of the onset of acute myocardial infarction does not improve survival during the 180 days after infarction.