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Cardiol Clin. 1995 Aug;13(3):379-90.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors post-myocardial infarction.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, USA.


Results from SOLVD, SAVE, AIRE, GISSI-III, ISIS-IV, and the Chinese Captopril Trial suggest that therapy with ACE inhibitors, at least with enalapril, captopril, ramipril, and lisinopril, induce significant reduction in morbidity and mortality rates in patients with ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and a wide range of ventricular function and myocardial infarction. SOLVD and SAVE results, in particular, demonstrate improved survival and reduced major ischemic events in patients with depressed systolic ventricular function. SOLVD points out that institution of ACE inhibitor therapy need not be done immediately post-myocardial infarction to accrue benefit. GISSI-III and ISIS-IV, on the other hand, suggest that use of ACE inhibitor drugs early post-myocardial infarction produces significant, albeit small, benefits when drugs are begun early post-event in conjunction with other routinely used therapeutic strategies. The prospective, well-designed, and well-controlled nature of these clinical trials, the consistency of their findings, and the high level of morbidity and mortality in placebo groups establish the importance of preventing ischemic events with the prescribed ACE inhibitors. Particularly important is the fact that none of these clinical trials were designed to determine optimal dose or frequency of administration of the ACE inhibitors chosen. Targeting dose principles were utilized and clinicians wishing to generate similar results in their own patient population should choose one of the ACE inhibitors studied and administer it in the manner described in hopes of achieving outcomes similar to those detailed in the summarized clinical trials. Finally, recommendations regarding post-myocardial infarction therapy with ACE inhibitors can be summarized. Patients having acute or remote infarction should have an assessment of ventricular function. All patients with depressed systolic function, whether they are or are not symptomatic, should receive a trial of an appropriate ACE inhibitor. Patients suffering an acute myocardial infarction should have an assessment of ventricular function early and, if the ejection fraction is low (probably < 50%), an appropriately chosen ACE inhibitor should be begun after 24 hours have elapsed. ACE inhibitor therapy should be begun in combination with other proven effective post-myocardial infarction treatment strategies. In patients with normal systolic function, advantages of ACE inhibitor therapy are less clear, but patients with large anterior wall myocardial infarction will likely benefit, even without objective evidence of left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Concomitant utilization of thrombolytic agents, aspirin, and beta blockers should not interdict use of ACE inhibitor therapy.

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