Randomised trial of low-dose amiodarone in severe congestive heart failure. Grupo de Estudio de la Sobrevida en la Insuficiencia Cardiaca en Argentina (GESICA)

Lancet. 1994 Aug 20;344(8921):493-8. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(94)91895-3.


In severe heart failure many deaths are sudden and are presumed to be due to ventricular arrhythmias. The GESICA trial evaluated the effect of low-dose amiodarone on two-year mortality in patients with severe heart failure. Our prospective multicentre trial included 516 patients on optimal standard treatment for heart failure. Patients were randomised to 300 mg/day amiodarone (260) or to standard treatment (256). Intention-to-treat analysis showed 87 deaths in the amiodarone group (33.5%) compared with 106 in the control group (41.4%) (risk reduction 28%; 95% CI 4%-45%; log rank test p = 0.024). There were reductions in both sudden death (risk reduction 27%; p = 0.16) and death due to progressive heart failure (risk reduction 23%; p = 0.16). Fewer patients in the amiodarone group died or were admitted to hospital due to worsening heart failure (119 versus 149 in the control group; risk reduction 31%; 95% CI 13-46%; p = 0.0024). The decrease in mortality and hospital admission was present in all subgroups examined and independent of the presence of non-sustained ventricular tachycardia. Side-effects were reported in 17 patients (6.1%); amiodarone was withdrawn in 12. Low-dose amiodarone proved to be an effective and reliable treatment, reducing mortality and hospital admission in patients with severe heart failure independently of the presence of complex ventricular arrhythmias.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amiodarone / administration & dosage*
  • Amiodarone / adverse effects
  • Amiodarone / pharmacokinetics
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Amiodarone