Two new questionnaires concerning the quality of life of patients with heart failure were used in a randomized, controlled trial to determine if the patients' perceptions of the effects of enalapril on their daily activities and sense of well-being were different from those of a group treated with hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate.
The questionnaires were completed at baseline and at 3 months, 6 months, and subsequently every 6 months during follow-up, which averaged 2.5 years (range, 0.5-5.7 years). Data from the questionnaires were reliable as indicated by correlation coefficients between repeated baseline scores of 0.88 and 0.87. Both treatment groups showed a progressive deterioration in quality of life as measured by both questionnaires. The questionnaire scores of the two treatment groups were not significantly different at any follow-up visit. Furthermore, there were no differences between treatments among subgroups defined by baseline questionnaire scores, peak oxygen consumption, ejection fraction, previous vasodilator use, and plasma norepinephrine concentration.
Although several factors may limit the generalization of these results, the lack of a difference with regard to patients' quality of life is an important consideration for the evaluation of the relative therapeutic efficacy of these vasodilators.