[Anti-aldosterone therapy in severe heart failure].Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 1999; 143(34):1724-6NT
The mortality rate among patients with severe heart failure is still very high despite treatment with loop diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. The 'randomized aldactone evaluation study' (RALES) has shown that 25 mg spironolactone added to this treatment was safe and reduced all-cause mortality by 30% in patients with severe (previous New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class IV) heart failure due to systolic left ventricular dysfunction. Blockade of aldosterone in these patients may be necessary to overcome so-called aldosterone escape during chronic ACE-inhibition. The beneficial effects of spironolactone may relate to enhanced diuresis, anti-arrhythmogenic properties and direct effects on the myocardium and blood vessels. At present, addition of spironolactone may be appropriate for patients with severe heart failure, whereas patients with moderate heart failure may benefit more from beta-blockade.