Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of carvedilol on diastolic function (DF) in heart failure patients with preserved left ventricular (LV) systolic function and abnormal DF.
Patients and methods: We randomised 113 patients with diastolic heart failure (DHF) (symptomatic, with normal systolic LV function and abnormal DF) into a double blind multi-centre study. The patients received either carvedilol or matching placebo in addition to conventional treatment. After uptitration, treatment was continued for 6 months. Two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography were used for quantification of LV function at baseline and at follow-up. Four different DF variables were evaluated by Doppler echocardiography: mitral flow E:A ratio, deceleration time (DT), isovolumic relaxation time (IVRT) and the ratio of systolic/diastolic pulmonary venous flow velocity (pv-S/D). Primary endpoint was change in the integrated quantitative assessment of all four variables during the study.
Results: Ninety-seven patients completed the study. A mitral flow pattern reflecting a relaxation abnormality was recorded in 95 patients. There was no effect on the primary endpoint, although a trend towards a better effect in carvedilol treated patients was noticed in patients with heart rates above 71 beats per minute. At the end of the study, there was a statistically significant improvement in E:A ratio in patients treated with carvedilol (0.72 to 0.83) vs. placebo (0.71 to 0.76), P<0.05.
Conclusions: Treatment with carvedilol resulted in a significant improvement in E:A ratio in patients with heart failure due to a LV relaxation abnormality. E:A ratio was found to be the most useful variable to identify diastolic dysfunction in this patient population. This effect was observed particularly in patients with higher heart rates at baseline.