Effects of 5'-phosphodiesterase four-week long inhibition with sildenafil in patients with chronic heart failure: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial

J Card Fail. 2008 Apr;14(3):189-97. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2007.11.006.


Background: The effects of chronic inhibition of 5'-phosphodiesterase with sildenafil on functional capacity, ventilatory efficiency, oxygen uptake, pulmonary hypertension, and endothelial function in chronic heart failure (CHF) are unknown.

Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the acute (1 hour after 50 mg by mouth) and chronic (4 weeks after 50 mg 3 times per day by mouth) effects of sildenafil in outpatients with CHF. The outcomes were cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters (chronic effect), echocardiographic-derived pulmonary artery systolic pressure, and plethysmography-derived forearm blood flow (acute and chronic effects).

Results: Nineteen patients with CHF (48 +/- 12 years) with an ejection fraction of 28% +/- 6% were studied. Patients who received sildenafil (n = 11) showed improved maximal oxygen uptake, ventilatory efficiency, and oxygen uptake kinetics. Sildenafil decreased pulmonary artery systolic pressure levels at 60 minutes and at 4 weeks compared with changes after placebo (P = .004 for group and time interaction). Improvement in ventilatory efficiency was positively associated with reductions in pulmonary artery systolic pressure. Patients allocated to placebo demonstrated a trend toward decreased forearm blood flow after reactive hyperemia, whereas this remained unchanged in patients allocated to sildenafil.

Conclusions: Sildenafil administration for 4 weeks in stable outpatients with CHF improves functional capacity, ventilatory efficiency, oxygen uptake kinetics, and pulmonary hypertension. These effects may be mediated in part by improvements in endothelial function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Area Under Curve
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / enzymology
  • Heart Failure / mortality*
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Piperazines / administration & dosage*
  • Plethysmography
  • Probability
  • Purines / administration & dosage
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones / administration & dosage*
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases