Role of aldosterone blockade in chronic heart failure

Blocking the adverse effects of the rennin-angiotensin system has been a major focus of drug development for the treatment of cardiovascular disease over the last 30 years. Plasma aldosterone levels are only transiently decreased suppressed after the initiation of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors treatment and has been shown that aldosterone causes adverse effects on the cardiovascular system independent of angiotensin II. In two consecutive meetings, 50 experts critically reviewed the available evidence. The present document reflects the consensus of the subject: “Role of aldosterone blockade in chronic heart failure”. Clinical interest in blocking aldosterone in patients treated with ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) was stimulated by the Randomized Aldactone Evaluation Study (RALES), which demonstrated that the mineralocorticoid (MC) antagonist spironolactone reduced the risk of all-cause mortality as well as hospitalizations for heart failure (HF) in patients with severe NYHA Class III-IV HF and a reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Recently, the Eplerenone in Mild Patients Hospitalization and Survival Study in Heart Failure (EMPHASIS-HF) trial showed a greater reduction of all-cause death and all-cause hospitalizations among patients with heart failure reduced ejection fraction and mild symptoms (NYHA functional class II), thus expanding the spectrum of aldosterone antagonism. Concluding that the current indications for aldosterone blockade are therefore clear for patients with moderate to severe symptoms (NYHA functional class III-IV), who have a decrease LVEF and signs and symptoms of HF despite optimal background treatment. The evidence analyzed in the EMPHASIS-HF trial undoubtedly contribute to change medical practice with regard to the use of this drugs in the treatment of HF.

Keywords: Blocking aldosterone; Chronic heart failure; Spironolactone; Eplerenone