Levosimendan, a new drug that sensitizes troponin-C to calcium and selectively inhibits phosphodiesterase III, was administered to 24 patients with ischemic heart disease and ejection fraction below 40%.In a placebo-controlled, crossover, double-blind study, each patient received two intravenous doses of levosimendan on 2 consecutive study days. The doses were 0.25 mg (n = 6), 0.5 mg(n = 11), 1 mg(n = 12), 2 mg(n = 12), and 4 mg (n = 5). After 0.25 mg and 0.5 mg, cardiac output increased by 0.49–0.67 L/min (p < 0.05) due to an increase in stroke volume of 6–11 ml. After 2 and 4 mg, cardiac output increased by 0.61–0.88 L/min due to an increase in heart rate of 6–12 beats/min. The baseline filling pressures, i.e., right atrial pressure (RAP) and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP), were within the
normal range. RAP decreased significantly (p < 0.05) after 2 and 4 mg and PCWP after 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 mg. The most profound decreases were observed 10 min after infusion of 4 mg, from 5.0 to 3.2 mm Hg in RAP and from 9.8 to 6.0 mm Hg in PCWP. Total peripheral resistance decreased significantly only after 2 and 4 mg, by 13 and 21%, respectively. However, there were no statistically significant changes in pulmonary vascular resistance. It is concluded that levosimendan has a hemodynamically favorable action after 0.25 and 0.5 mg but that decreases in tilling pressures probably prevented the increase in stroke volume and caused a reflex increase in heart rate after 2 and 4 mg.
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