Efficacy and Safety of L-Carnitine Treatment for Chronic Heart Failure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:6274854. doi: 10.1155/2017/6274854. Epub 2017 Apr 13.


Background. Whether additional benefit can be achieved with the use of L-carnitine (L-C) in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) remains controversial. We therefore performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the effects of L-C treatment in CHF patients. Methods. Pubmed, Ovid Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, Wanfang database, Chinese Biomedical (CBM) database, and Chinese Science and Technology Periodicals database (VIP) until September 30, 2016, were identified. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were systematically evaluated by two reviewers independently. Results. 17 RCTs with 1625 CHF patients were included in this analysis. L-C treatment in CHF was associated with considerable improvement in overall efficacy (OR = 3.47, P < 0.01), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (WMD: 4.14%, P = 0.01), strike volume (SV) (WMD: 8.21 ml, P = 0.01), cardiac output (CO) (WMD: 0.88 L/min, P < 0.01), and E/A (WMD: 0.23, P < 0.01). Moreover, treatment with L-C also resulted in significant decrease in serum levels of BNP (WMD: -124.60 pg/ml, P = 0.01), serum levels of NT-proBNP (WMD: -510.36 pg/ml, P < 0.01), LVESD (WMD: -4.06 mm, P < 0.01), LVEDD (WMD: -4.79 mm, P < 0.01), and LVESV (WMD: -20.16 ml, 95% CI: -35.65 to -4.67, P < 0.01). However, there were no significant differences in all-cause mortality, 6-minute walk, and adverse events between L-C and control groups. Conclusions. L-C treatment is effective for CHF patients in improving clinical symptoms and cardiac functions, decreasing serum levels of BNP and NT-proBNP. And it has a good tolerance.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carnitine / adverse effects
  • Carnitine / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Heart Failure / blood
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Carnitine