Effect of enalapril, hydralazine plus isosorbide dinitrate, and prazosin on hospitalization in patients with chronic congestive heart failure. The V-HeFT VA Cooperative Studies Group.Circulation. 1993 Jun; 87(6 Suppl):VI78-87.Circ
Hospitalization of persons with congestive heart failure for recurrent heart failure or other complications is common.
METHODS AND RESULTS
Male patients aged 18-75 with chronic heart failure were randomized in two sequential trials designed to study the efficacy of vasodilator therapy. Patients were evaluated every 3 months, and information regarding hospitalizations between visits was obtained from the patient, his family, and/or hospital records. Hospitalization data also were obtained for patients who had died between scheduled clinic visits. Hospitalizations were not recorded if a patient died during transit to the hospital or in the hospital emergency department before admission. In Vasodilator-Heart Failure Trial (V-HeFT) I, no significant difference in number of patients hospitalized or number of hospitalizations was noted among the treatment groups, although there was a trend for fewer and delayed cardiac hospitalizations in the hydralazine plus isosorbide dinitrate arm in which the survival was greater. In V-HeFT II, no difference in hospitalizations was apparent between the enalapril and hydralazine plus isosorbide dinitrate arms. Univariate predictors of hospitalization for all causes were reduced peak oxygen consumption (VO2) during exercise (p < 0.0001), reduced exercise duration (p < 0.0001), increased cardiothoracic ratio on chest radiograph (p < 0.0001), increased age (p < 0.03), and use of antiarrhythmic drugs (p < 0.013), whereas multivariate predictors were reduced peak VO2 (p < 0.0001), use of antiarrhythmic drugs (p < 0.015), and increased cardiothoracic ratio (p < 0.03). Univariate predictors of hospitalization for heart failure were peak VO2 (p < 0.0001), LVEF (p < 0.0001), reduced exercise duration (p < 0.0001), elevated cardiothoracic ratio (p < 0.0001), and elevated plasma norepinephrine (p < 0.0001). Multivariate predictors were exercise duration (p < 0.0001), LVEF (p < 0.04), elevated cardiothoracic ratio (p < 0.03), plasma norepinephrine (p < 0.0005), and coronary artery disease (p < 0.02). Time to first hospitalization, cause specific or overall, was considerably shorter for patients with baseline peak VO2 < 10 mL.kg-1 x min-1 compared with those with peak VO2 > 15 mL.kg-1 x min-1.
Despite better survival in patients randomized to hydralazine plus isosorbide dinitrate compared with placebo and better survival in patients randomized to enalapril compared with hydralazine plus isosorbide dinitrate, no significant differences between the treatment groups were apparent in the incidence of hospitalization or time to first hospitalization for congestive heart failure, for cardiac reasons other than congestive heart failure, or for other causes. V-HeFT I and V-HeFT II data demonstrate no treatment effect on hospitalization, perhaps reflecting in part the effectiveness of the Veterans Affairs special heart failure clinics in dealing with worsening heart failure on an outpatient basis. Identification of predictors of hospitalization were similar in both studies.