Improved hemodynamic function and mechanical efficiency in congestive heart failure with sodium dichloroacetate

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1994 Jun;23(7):1617-24. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(94)90665-3.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine whether sodium dichloroacetate improves hemodynamic performance and mechanical efficiency in congestive heart failure.

Background: Congestive heart failure is associated with impaired hemodynamic performance and reduced mechanical efficiency. Dichloroacetate stimulates pyruvate dehydrogenase activity by inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase, which results in inhibition of free fatty acid metabolism and stimulation of high respiratory quotient glucose and lactate consumption by the heart. Facilitation of glucose and lactate consumption with dichloroacetate should improve mechanical efficiency of the failing ventricle.

Methods: Ten patients with New York Heart Association functional class III to IV congestive heart failure were studied. Dichloroacetate (50 mg/kg body weight) was administered intravenously for 30 min, with measurements of hemodynamic variables, coronary sinus blood flow and blood gas, glucose and lactate levels for 2 h. The same patients were also given dobutamine (5 to 12.5 micrograms/kg per min) for comparison.

Results: Therapeutic levels of dichloroacetate were achieved (100 to 160 micrograms/liter of plasma). Myocardial consumption of lactate was stimulated from 29% to 37.4%. Forward stroke volumes increased (+5.3 ml/beat, p < 0.02), as did left ventricular stroke work (+1.8 g-m/m2 per beat, p < 0.02) and left ventricular minute work (from 1.38 to 1.55 kg-m/m2 per min, p < 0.01). Myocardial oxygen consumption decreased (from 19.3 to 16.5 ml/min, p = 0.06) as left ventricular minute work increased. Left ventricular mechanical efficiency thus improved from 15.2% to 20.6% (p = 0.03). Dobutamine administration resulted in the opposite trend with respect to myocardial lactate extraction (from 34% to 15.3%, p < 0.02). Stroke volume increased (+7.4 ml/beat, p = NS vs. dichloroacetate), as did left ventricular minute work (from 1.29 to 1.59 g-m/m2 per min, p < 0.01 vs. dichloroacetate) and myocardial oxygen consumption (from 18.6 to 21.0 ml/min, p = 0.06 vs. dichloroacetate). Left ventricular mechanical efficiency did not change with dobutamine administration (from 16.4% to 15.8%, p = NS).

Conclusions: Dichloroacetate administration stimulates myocardial lactate consumption and improves left ventricular mechanical efficiency. Forward stroke volume and left ventricular minute work increase significantly, with a simultaneous reduction in myocardial oxygen consumption. Dobutamine administration results in similar hemodynamic improvements but with no change in left ventricular mechanical efficiency and with opposite effects on lactate metabolism. The opposing metabolic actions, yet similar hemodynamic responses, of dichloroacetate and dobutamine suggest that these agents may be complementary in the treatment of congestive heart failure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Dichloroacetic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Dobutamine / administration & dosage
  • Dobutamine / pharmacology
  • Dobutamine / therapeutic use
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinases*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Acetyl-Transferring Kinase
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex / metabolism


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Acetyl-Transferring Kinase
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex
  • Dobutamine
  • Dichloroacetic Acid
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases