African Americans have a high incidence of heart failure (HF). Limited retrospective observational subgroup analyses of patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) suggest marginal benefit of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in the prevention of HF hospitalizations or total mortality in African Americans.
Very few data exist concerning the effectiveness of angiotensin receptor blockers in this population.
Baseline characteristics, treatments, and outcomes of patients from the U.S. (3,390 white and 340 African-American patients) in the VALIANT (VALsartan In Acute myocardial iNfarcTion) trial were compared. This trial included patients with an acute myocardial infarction (MI) after initial stabilization and documented LVSD and/or HF. Patients were randomly assigned to receive treatment with valsartan, captopril, or the combination; follow-up continued for up to 3 years (median 24.7 months).
African Americans had more coronary risk factors, more markers of poor outcome after MI, and were less likely to be revascularized when compared with white patients. After adjusting for treatment assignment, baseline characteristics, and post-infarction parameters, no difference was found in the 3-year rate of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, rehospitalization for HF, recurrent MI, or stroke between the 2 groups.
African Americans sustaining an acute MI with LVSD and/or HF had similar clinical outcomes compared with white Americans. Valsartan, captopril, or the combination had comparable effects on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in African Americans and white Americans.