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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000 Nov 15;36(6):1903-12.

Hemodynamic and neurohumoral effects of continuous infusion of levosimendan in patients with congestive heart failure.

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Helsinki University, Finland.



We sought to define the therapeutic dose range of levosimendan in patients with New York Heart Association class II-IV heart failure of ischemic origin.


Levosimendan is a calcium sensitizer for treatment of acute decompensated heart failure.


A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multicenter, parallel-group study included 151 adult patients. Levosimendan was given as a 10-min intravenous bolus of 3, 6, 12, 24 or 36 microg/kg, followed by a 24-h infusion of 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4 or 0.6 microg/kg/min, respectively. Dobutamine, for comparative purposes, was given as an open-label infusion (6 microg/kg/min). The primary efficacy variable was the proportion of patients achieving in each treatment group at least one of the following: 1) a > or =15% increase in stroke volume (SV) at 23 h to 24 h; 2) a > or =25% decrease in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) (and > or =4 mm Hg) at 23 h to 24 h; 3) a > or =40% increase in cardiac output (CO) (with change in heart rate [HR] <20%); 4) a > or =50% decrease in PCWP during two consecutive measurements.


The response rate to levosimendan ranged from 50% at the lowest dose to 88% at the highest dose (compared with placebo 14%, dobutamine 70%). A dose-response relationship was demonstrated for levosimendan on increases in CO and SV, and reductions in PCWP during the infusion (for all, p< or =0.001). Headache (9%), nausea (5%) and hypotension (5%) were the most frequently reported adverse events at higher dosages.


Dosing of levosimendan with a 10-min bolus of 6 to 24 microg/kg followed by an infusion of 0.05 to 0.2 microg/kg/min is well tolerated and leads to favorable hemodynamic effects.

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