New Hope for People With Heart Failure

Drug may help reduce risk of death and illness in those with chronic disease

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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 3, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- The angiotensin-receptor blocker drug candesartan may reduce illness and death for people with chronic heart failure.

The good news comes from four studies published online this week in The Lancet.

Researchers taking part in the Candesartan in Heart Failure Assessment of Reduction of Mortality and Morbidity (CHARM) project compared the effectiveness of candesartan with a placebo in about 7,600 patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).

There were three distinct groups of patients: those with a left-ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF)of 40 percent or less not receiving angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors because of previous intolerance; those currently receiving angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors; and those with LVEF higher than 40 percent.

Overall, the researchers found fewer patients given candesartan died compared with those given placebo -- 886 and 945 deaths respectively. The patients taking candesartan also had fewer hospital admissions for chronic heart failure than those taking the placebo (20 percent compared with 24 percent).

"Our findings show that candesartan can prolong survival, particularly in patients with LVEF of 40 percent or less, and provide incremental clinical benefits across the broad spectrum of patients with symptomatic heart failure, including reductions in hospital admissions for heart failure and prevention of diabetes," CHARM lead investigator Mark Pfeffer, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, says in a news release.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about heart failure.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Sept. 2, 2003

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