In patients admitted for acute heart failure (HF) indication for drugs which reduce the heart rate (HR) is debated. The multicentre prospective study Reduction of heart Rate in Heart Failure (RedRate-HF) was designed to analyse the hemodynamic effects of an early reduction of HR in acute HF.
Hemodynamic parameters were recorded by using the bioimpedance technique, which was shown to be accurate, highly reproducible and sensitive to intra-observer changes. Lowering HR was obtained by ivabradine 5 mg bd, given 48–72 h after admission on the top of optimized treatment. Patients were followed at 24, 48, 72 h after drug assumption and at hospital discharge.
Twenty patients of a mean age of 67 ± 15 years, BNP at entry 1348 ± 1198 pg/ml were enrolled. Despite a clinical stabilization, after 48–72 h from admission, HR was persistently >70 bpm. Ivabradine was well tolerated in all patients with a significant increase in RR interval from 747 ± 69 ms at baseline to 948 ± 121 ms at discharge, P < 0.0001. Change in HR was associated with a significant increase in stroke volume (baseline 73 ± 22 vs. 84 ± 19 ml at discharge, P = 0.03), and reduction in left cardiac work index (baseline 3.6 ± 1.2 vs. 3.1 ± 1.1 kg/m2 at discharge, P = 0.04). Other measures of heart work were also significantly affected while cardiac output remained unchanged
The strategy of an early lowering of HR in patients admitted for acute HF on top of usual care is feasible and safe. The HR reduction causes a positive increase in stroke volume and may contribute to saving energy without affecting cardiac output.