Context: Because acute decompensated heart failure causes substantial morbidity and mortality, there is a need for agents that at least improve hemodynamics and relieve symptoms without adversely affecting survival.
Objective: To assess the effect of a short-term intravenous infusion of levosimendan or dobutamine on long-term survival.
Design, setting, and patients: The Survival of Patients With Acute Heart Failure in Need of Intravenous Inotropic Support (SURVIVE) study was a randomized, double-blind trial comparing the efficacy and safety of intravenous levosimendan or dobutamine in 1327 patients hospitalized with acute decompensated heart failure who required inotropic support. The trial was conducted at 75 centers in 9 countries and patients were randomized between March 2003 and December 2004.
Interventions: Intravenous levosimendan (n = 664) or intravenous dobutamine (n = 663).
Main outcome measure: All-cause mortality at 180 days.
Results: All-cause mortality at 180 days occurred in 173 (26%) patients in the levosimendan group and 185 (28%) patients in the dobutamine group (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.74-1.13; P = .40). The levosimendan group had greater decreases in B-type natriuretic peptide level at 24 hours that persisted through 5 days compared with the dobutamine group (P<.001 for all time points). There were no statistical differences between treatment groups for the other secondary end points (all-cause mortality at 31 days, number of days alive and out of the hospital, patient global assessment, patient assessment of dyspnea at 24 hours, and cardiovascular mortality at 180 days). There was a higher incidence of cardiac failure in the dobutamine group. There were higher incidences of atrial fibrillation, hypokalemia, and headache in the levosimendan group.
Conclusion: Despite an initial reduction in plasma B-type natriuretic peptide level in patients in the levosimendan group compared with patients in the dobutamine group, levosimendan did not significantly reduce all-cause mortality at 180 days or affect any secondary clinical outcomes.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00348504.