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Am J Cardiol. 1995 Dec 15;76(17):1259-65.

Effects of adding spironolactone to an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in chronic congestive heart failure secondary to coronary artery disease.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom.


In chronic heart failure, a diuretic plus an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor only partially suppresses aldosterone despite the fact that aldosterone has many harmful effects independent of angiotensin II. These possible harmful effects of aldosterone are magnesium loss, increased cardiac sympathetic activity, and increased ventricular arrhythmias. We have therefore assessed whether adding the aldosterone antagonist, spironolactone, to a loop diuretic and ACE inhibitor reverses any of these potentially harmful effects of residual aldosterone. In a preliminary animal study, we found that exogenous aldosterone reduced myocardial norepinephrine uptake by 24% in anesthetized rats in vivo. In our main study, 42 patients with New York Heart Association II to III congestive heart failure were randomized to spironolactone (50 to 100 mg/day, titrated to blood pressure and plasma potassium) or placebo in a double-blind fashion. Our principal finding is that cardiac norepinephrine uptake as assessed by 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy increased with spironolactone (p < 0.01). Spironolactone also elevated plasma magnesium (p < 0.05), reduced urinary magnesium excretion (p < 0.05), and caused a reduction in ventricular arrhythmias on 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiography (p < 0.05). Spironolactone increased plasma renin activity, plasma aldosterone (p < 0.01), 24-hour urinary sodium excretion (p < 0.05), and urinary sodium/potassium ratio (p < 0.01). Echocardiographic-determined measurements of left ventricular systolic and diastolic function were unaltered by spironolactone.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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