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Am Heart J. 2000 Sep;140(3):361-6.

Rationale for the use of combination angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin II receptor blocker therapy in heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Washington, DC 20422-0001, USA.



Heart failure (HF) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays a major role in its pathophysiology, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are the cornerstone of therapy. However, HF continues to progress despite this therapy, perhaps because of production of angiotensin II by alternative pathways, which lead to direct stimulation of the angiotensin II receptor. Angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) therapy alone or in combination with the ACE inhibitor is a promising approach to block the RAS and slow HF progression more completely.


The current medical literature on the pathophysiology of HF and the use of ACE inhibitors and ARBs was extensively reviewed.


Evidence from basic science, experimental animals, and clinical trials provides data on the safety and efficacy of RAS inhibition with ACE inhibitors and ARBs as monotherapy and in combination. Data from the Evaluation of Losartan in the Elderly (ELITE) II trial indicate that ARBs alone do not appear to be more effective than ACE inhibitors in HF, but studies evaluating their use in combination are currently ongoing.


The addition of an ARB offers more complete angiotensin II receptor blockade of the RAS than can be obtained by ACE inhibitors alone. Combination therapy preserves the benefits of bradykinin potentiation offered by ACE inhibitors while providing potential antitrophic influences of AT(2) receptor stimulation and may play an increased role in the treatment of chronic HF in the future.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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