Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that furosemide accelerates the progression of left ventricular systolic dysfunction in a tachycardia-induced porcine model of heart failure.
Background: Furosemide activates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Such activation may contribute to CHF progression, but prospective data are lacking.
Methods: Thirty-two Yorkshire pigs were randomized to furosemide (1 mg/kg intramuscularly daily, mean 16.1 +/- 0.9 mg) or placebo. Thereafter, a pacing model of heart failure was utilized to produce systolic dysfunction in both sets of animals (fractional shortening <0.16 by echocardiogram). The goal was to determine if furosemide would accelerate the progression of left ventricular dysfunction in the "treated" group. After sacrifice, sodium-calcium exchanger currents and their responsiveness to isoproterenol were measured during voltage clamp. All investigators were blinded to treatment assignment.
Results: Furosemide shortened the time to left ventricular dysfunction (35.1 +/- 5.1 days in placebo versus 21.4 +/- 3.2 days for furosemide animals; p = 0.038, log-rank test). By day 14, aldosterone levels were significantly higher in furosemide animals (43.0 +/- 11.8 ng/dl vs. 17.6 +/- 4.5 ng/dl; p < 0.05). Serum sodium was reduced (133.0 +/- 0.9 mmol/l furosemide vs. 135.7 +/- 0.8 mmol/l placebo; p < 0.05), but no difference in norepinephrine, potassium, magnesium, creatinine, or urea nitrogen was present. Basal sodium-calcium exchanger currents were significantly increased and isoproterenol responsiveness depressed by furosemide.
Conclusions: Tachycardic pigs given furosemide had significant acceleration of both contractile and metabolic features of CHF, including left ventricular systolic dysfunction, elevated serum aldosterone levels, and altered calcium handling in a controlled experimental model of heart failure.