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Eur J Heart Fail. 2005 Aug;7(5):882-7.

The Ca2+-sensitizer levosimendan improves oxidative damage, BNP and pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in patients with advanced decompensated heart failure in comparison to dobutamine.

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State Cardiology Department, Hippokration Hospital , 114 Vassilissis Sophias, Athens, Greece.



To investigate the effect of a new inotropic drug, levosimendan compared with dobutamine on levels of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and malondialdehyde (MDA) in patients with severe decompensated heart failure.


Twenty-nine consecutive patients (22 males and 7 females), mean age 70.5+/-9.9 years, with decompensated heart failure on standard medical therapy, were randomised to receive either a 24 h infusion of levosimendan (n=15) or dobutamine (n=14). Blood samples were drawn at baseline, 48 h and 5 days post infusion. Levosimendan produced a significant reduction in BNP compared to baseline, at both 48 h (744.1+/-100 vs 1136.3+/-93.7 pg/ml, p=0.04) and 5 days (446+/-119.3 vs 1136.3+/-93.7 pg/ml, p=0.03), while IL-6 values decreased after 5 days (4.8+/-1.3 vs 8.6+/-1.5 pg/ml, p=0.01). MDA levels were significantly lower 5 days after levosimendan compared to baseline (2.3+/-0.2 vs 3+/-0.3 microM, p=0.01). TNF-alpha levels did not differ between the groups. The comparison of percentage alteration compared to baseline showed that BNP (-44.5+/-7.6% vs 4.8+/-18.7%, p=0.025), MDA (-21.8+/-5.1% vs 14.9+/-8.5%, p=0.001) and IL-6 (-38.8+/-12.5% vs 70.2+/-24%, p=0.001) levels were significantly lower in the levosimendan group 5 days after treatment compared to the dobutamine group.


Treatment with levosimendan in advanced decompensated heart failure exerts a beneficial hemodynamic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. These findings may give an insight into the favourable impact on mortality that levosimendan appears to have in published multicenter trials.

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