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The Effects of Angiotensin-Receptor Blockers on Mortality and Morbidity in Heart Failure: A Systematic Review


Background: Trials evaluating angiotensin-receptor blockers in heart failure (HF) have shown inconsistent results.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of angiotensin II (AII) receptor blockers in HF patients on total mortality and HF hospitalisations.

Methods: Systematic search of the literature through MEDLINE (1980-2007) and abstracts of major cardiovascular congresses from 2002 to 2007. Eligibility criteria: (i) randomised controlled trials with more than 500 patients and follow up > 6 months, (ii) availability of total mortality and/or (iii) availability of hospital admission because of worsening HF. Data retrieved by two independent reviewers. DerSimonian random effects model was used.


Results: Mortality data were available from 27,495 patients. When AII receptor blockers plus angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) were compared with ACE-I in chronic HF trials, the relative risk (RR) for death was 0.98 (95% CI: 0.84-1.15). When AII receptor blockers were compared with ACE-I the RR for death was 1.06 (95% CI: 0.56-1.62). Similar results were found for postmyocardial infarction trials. The effects on hospital admission revealed a RR of 0.83 (95% CI: 0.71-0.97) and 1.09 (95% CI: 0.74-1.60) respectively.

Conclusion: Angiotensin II receptor blockers did not show any beneficial effect on mortality when used in combination with ACE-I or when compared with ACE-I alone. A 17% reduction in hospital admissions was observed.

source: Int J Clin Pract. 2008;62(9):1397-1402.