Levosimendan: A new dual-action drug in the treatment of acute heart failure

A Mebazaa, Leif RW Erhardt

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18 Citations (SciVal)


Levosimendan is a new agent for the treatment of acute heart failure. Levosimendan acts via complementary mechanisms; it enhances contractility by sensitising cardiac myofilaments to calcium and dilates blood vessels by opening ATP-dependent potassium channels. In contrast to traditional inotropes (beta-agonists or phosphodiesterase inhibitors), levosimendan does not raise myocyte calcium levels and is therefore less likely to elicit arrhythmias or to impair diastolic relaxation. The clinical efficacy of levosimendan is supported by four key clinical studies, including more than 900 patients hospitalised for cardiac decompensation due to acutely worsened chronic heart failure or to heart failure following myocardial infarction. When given as short-term therapy, levosimendan enhances cardiac output, reduces systemic vascular resistance and lowers pulmonary capillary wedge pressure. At 31 days post-treatment, mortality rates were halved in decompensated chronic heart failure patients who received levosimendan, compared with those on dobutamine - an advantage sustained at 180 days. Similar survival gains were observed among acute failure patients treated with levosimendan following myocardial infarction. With its substantial haemodynamic and survival benefits, levosimendan is well suited to be part of routine management for patients with acutely decompensated heart failure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-416
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Clinical Medicine


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