We aimed to investigate the impact of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) on hematocrit values in those with heart failure, and the relationship between incident anemia and mortality.
Prevalent anemia is an independent risk factor for morbidity and mortality in those with heart failure. Studies in patients with polycythemia have demonstrated that ACEIs are effective in lowering hematocrit values.
We used the Studies Of Left Ventricular Dysfunction (SOLVD) database to compare the odds of developing new anemia at one year in patients who were not anemic at entry and who were randomized to enalapril or placebo. Cox proportional hazards models were utilized to determine the impact of incident and prevalent anemia on subsequent mortality.
Enalapril increased the odds of incident anemia (hematocrit < or =39% in men or < or =36% in women) at one year by 48% (odds ratio [OR] 1.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.20 to 1.82) in unadjusted and 56% (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.26 to 1.93) in adjusted models. With multivariate analysis, prevalent anemia at randomization was associated with a 44% (hazard ratio [HR] 1.44, 95% CI 1.31 to 1.66) increase in all-cause mortality, whereas incident anemia after randomization was associated with a 108% increase (HR 2.08, 95% CI 1.82 to 2.38). After adjusting for incident and prevalent anemia, use of enalapril was associated with a survival benefit.
Enalapril was associated with increased odds of developing anemia at one year. Those with periods of time with incident anemia had the poorest survival, followed by those with prevalent anemia, then those without anemia. Enalapril was protective of overall mortality after adjusting for incident anemia and in those with prevalent anemia.