Inotropes and Cardiorenal Syndrome in Acute Heart Failure - A Retrospective Comparative Analysis

Rev Port Cardiol. 2017 Sep;36(9):619-625. doi: 10.1016/j.repc.2017.03.006. Epub 2017 Aug 18.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Introduction: Cardiorenal syndrome (CRS) is common in acute heart failure (AHF), and is associated with dire prognosis. Levosimendan, a positive inotrope that also has diuretic effects, may improve patients' renal profile. Published results are conflicting.

Objectives: We aimed to assess the incidence of CRS in AHF patients according to the inotrope used and to determine its predictors in order to identify patients who could benefit from the most renoprotective inotrope.

Methods: In a retrospective study, 108 consecutive patients with AHF who required inotropes were divided into two groups according to the inotrope used (levosimendan vs. dobutamine). The primary endpoint was CRS incidence. Follow-up for mortality and readmission for AHF was conducted.

Results: Seventy-one percent of the study population were treated with levosimendan and the remainder with dobutamine. No differences were found in heart failure etiology or chronic kidney disease. At admission, the dobutamine group had lower blood pressure; there were no differences in estimated glomerular filtration rate or cystatin C levels. The levosimendan group had lower left ventricular ejection fraction. CRS incidence was higher in the dobutamine group, and they more often had incomplete recovery of renal function at discharge. In multivariate analysis, cystatin C levels predicted CRS. The dobutamine group had higher in-hospital mortality, of which CRS and the inotrope used were predictors.

Conclusions: Levosimendan appears to have some renoprotective effect, as it was associated with a lower incidence of CRS and better recovery of renal function at discharge. Identification of patients at increased risk of renal dysfunction by assessing cystatin C may enable more tailored therapy, minimizing the incidence of CRS and its negative impact on outcome in AHF.

Keywords: Cardiorenal syndrome; Dobutamina; Dobutamine; Heart failure; Insuficiência cardíaca; Levosimendan; Levosimendano; Síndrome cardiorrenal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome / etiology*
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dobutamine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydrazones / therapeutic use*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyridazines / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Simendan


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Hydrazones
  • Pyridazines
  • Simendan
  • Dobutamine