Neuroprotective strategies in ischemic stroke are an important challenge in clinical and experimental research as an adjunct to reperfusion therapy that may reduce neurologic injury and improve outcome. The neuroprotective properties of levosimendan in traumatic brain injury in vitro, transient global brain ischemia and focal spinal cord ischemia suggest the potential for similar effects in transient brain ischemia.
Transient brain ischemia was induced for 60 min by intraluminal occlusion of the middle cerebral artery in 40 male Wistar rats under general anesthesia with s-ketamine and xylazine and with continuous monitoring of their blood pressure and cerebral perfusion. Five minutes before inducing reperfusion, a levosimendan bolus (24 μg kg -1) was administered over a 20 minute period. Infarct size, brain swelling, neurological function and the expression of inflammatory markers were quantified 24 hours after reperfusion.
Although levosimendan limited the infarct size and brain swelling by 40% and 53%, respectively, no effect on neurological outcome or mortality could be demonstrated. Upregulation of tumor necrosis factor α and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 was significantly impeded. Cerebral blood flow during reperfusion was significantly reduced as a consequence of sustained autoregulation.
Levosimendan demonstrated significant neuroprotective properties in a rat model of transient brain ischemia by reducing reperfusion injury.
Experimental stroke; Postconditioning; Levosimendan; Cerebral reperfusion injury
Accidental intravenous exposure to bupivacaine is highly cardiotoxic and may lead to death. Positive inotropic agents are usually utilized in resuscitative efforts. We have compared the efficacy of levosimendan, a novel inotropic agent, with dobutamine and their combination in a rat model of bupivacaine intoxication.
Twenty-eight male Wistar albino rats weighing between 250-300 g were divided into these four groups: control (C), levosimendan (L), dobutamine (D) and dobutamine+levosimendan (D+L). Bupivacaine was administered at a dose of 3 mg/kg/min until cardiac arrest occurred or for 120 min. ECG, heart rate, blood pressure, arterial blood gases, and end tidal CO2 levels were monitored. Levosimendan was administered as a bolus of 12 μg/kg for 10 min and continued as an infusion at 0.3 μg/kg/min. Dobutamine was infused at a dose of 3 μg/kg/min. The time required for a 50% and 75% decrease in heart rate and blood pressure with a total time to cardiac arrest and bupivacaine dose for obtaining cardiac arrest were analyzed.
Time periods for heart rate reductions of 50% and 75% were significantly longer in groups L (903, 1198 s), D (984, 1542 s) and L+D (1705, 3152 s) compared with the control group (345, 538 s p < 0.001). Median times to mean blood pressure reductions of 50% and 75% were 399 - 504 s in the control group, 1005 -1204 s in group L, 685 - 1009 s in group D and 1544- 2982 s in group L+D, and the difference was significant compared with the control group. Median time duration to asystole was 703 s in the control group compared with 1385 s in group L, 1789 s in group D and 3557 s in group L+D. Time to cardiac arrest was significantly higher in all 3 study groups. It was also significantly higher in the L+D group compared with both groups L and D separately.
A combination of dobutamine with levosimendan significantly increased survival times in this bupivacaine-induced toxicity rat model compared with the control, levosimendan, and dobutamine groups.
Bupivacaine; Cardiotoxicity; Levosimendan; Dobutamine; Rat
Calcium antagonist overdose can cause severe deterioration of hemodynamics unresponsible to treatment with beta adrenergic inotropes. The aim of the study was to evaluate in an experimental model the effects of levosimendan during severe calcium antagonist intoxication.
Twelve landrace-pigs were intoxicated with intravenous verapamil at escalating infusion rates. The infusion containing 2.5 mg/ml verapamil was used aiming to a reduction of cardiac output by 40% from the baseline value. Intoxicated pigs were randomized into two groups: control (saline) and levosimendan (intravenous bolus). Inotropic effect was measured as a change in a maximum of the positive slope of the left ventricular pressure (LV dP/dt). The survival and hemodynamics of the animals were followed for 120 min after the targeted reduction of cardiac output.
In the control group, five out of six pigs died during the experiment. In the levosimendan group, one pig died before completion of the experiment (p = 0.04). In the levosimendan group a change in LV dP/dt was positive in four out of six pigs compared to one out of six pigs in the control group (p = ns).
In this experimental model, the use of levosimendan was associated with improved survival.
OBJECTIVE—To determine whether levosimendan, a calcium sensitiser that facilitates the activation of the contractile apparatus by calcium, improves myocardial contractile function during severe ischaemia and reperfusion without exacerbating the incidence of arrhythmias.
DESIGN—Pigs were pretreated orally twice daily for 10 days with 0.08 mg/kg levosimendan or placebo. On day 11 the left main coronary artery was ligated for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of reperfusion. A bolus dose of levosimendan, 11.2 µg/kg intravenously, or placebo was given 30 minutes before coronary ligation, followed by a continuous infusion of 0.2 µg/kg/min levosimendan or placebo for the remainder of the experiment.
RESULTS—During the ischaemic period, cardiac output was higher in the levosimendan group than in the placebo group (mean (SD): 2.6 (0.5) v 2.0 (0.2) l/min, p < 0.05) and systemic vascular resistance was lower (2024 (188) v 2669 (424) dyne.s−1.cm−5, p < 0.005). During reperfusion, cardiac output and contractility (LVmaxdP/dt (pos), 956 (118) v 784 (130) mm Hg/s, p < 0.05) were increased by levosimendan. The incidence of ischaemic ventricular fibrillation and tachycardia was similar in the two groups but there were more arrhythmic events (ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation) in the levosimendan treated group (8/12 levosimendan v 1/9 control p = 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS—Levosimendan improved cardiac output and myocardial contractility during coronary artery ligation and reperfusion. However, it increased the number of arrhythmic events during ischaemia in this model of in vivo regional ischaemia.
Keywords: calcium sensitisers; myocardial ischaemia; arrhythmias
Calcium channel blocker (CCB) toxicity, in particular that induced by verapamil and diltiazem, presents clinical challenges with no true antidote. Levosimendan, a calcium sensitizer, improves cardiac contractility in patients with heart failure. We tested the hypothesis that calcium channel sensitization will prolong survival in a rat model of severe verapamil poisoning.
This was a blinded, randomized, controlled animal study. Wistar rats (mean weight, 371 ± 50 g) were used. Verapamil (2.5 mg/ml) was infused at a rate of 37.5 mg/kg per hour. Bolus doses of levosimendan (5 μg/mL) were given at 0 min (12 μg/kg) and 5 min (18 μg/kg); saline control was of equal volume. The rats were intubated and maintained under general anesthesia with isoflurane. Electrocardiographic activity and core temperature were monitored during the poisoning and treatment phases. Each rat underwent femoral vein cannulation and was then randomized, in blinded fashion, to receive either levosimendan or an equal volume of saline at 0 and 5 minutes. Death, defined as 1 minute of asystole, was used as the primary endpoint.
Rats treated with levosimendan died before the control group (7.37 ± 0.7 min [n = 7] vs. 16.4 ± 4.2 [n = 7] [p=.053]). All animals experienced bradycardia prior to asystole.
Although levosimendan has the ability to sensitize and enhance binding of troponin C to Ca2+, this study did not show an improvement in survival time in the setting of verapamil toxicity. This may be attributed to levosimendan’s inhibition of phosphodiesterase, which possibly exacerbated the CCB-induced hypotension.
In this rat model, levosimendan as a solitary antidotal treatment for verapamil toxicity was not beneficial.
verapamil; toxicity; levosimendan
Levosimendan improves myocardial contractility, and increases systemic, pulmonary and coronary vasodilation. The present study investigates the perioperative hemodynamic effects of a prophylactic infusion of levosimendan in high-risk cardiac surgery patients with severe left ventricle dysfunction, and compares short-term clinical outcomes with a historical control group in which dobutamine and milrinone were used.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
A retrospective, observational study was performed in 10 adult patients with EuroSCOREs greater than six and severe left ventricle dysfunction. In the study group, prophylactic levosimendan infusion was started after the induction of general anesthesia (bolus 24 μg/kg over 10 min; continuous infusion 0.1 μg/kg/min over the next 24 h). The historical control group (12 patients) was treated with dobutamine and milrinone. The hemodynamic measurements were performed at eight predetermined time points. Short-term clinical outcomes recorded in both groups were the length of intensive care unit stay, the need for dialysis, the length of hospital stay, predicted mortality (logistic EuroSCORE) and 30-day mortality.
Hemodynamic measurements performed in the study group revealed an increase in cardiac index 30 min after levosimendan infusion was started. Cardiac performance was sufficient throughout the entire perioperative period. The length of intensive care unit stay was not different between the groups, but the length of hospital stay (10.4±5.0 versus 26.6±17.6 days; P=0.01) and 30-day mortality (0% versus 41.7%; P=0.04) were significantly lower in levosimendan-treated patients.
Levosimendan seemed to be an effective choice for preventing left ventricle failure in high-risk cardiac surgical patients with severe left ventricle dysfunction compared with patients receiving dobutamine and milrinone.
EuroSCORE; High-risk cardiac surgery; Inotropic drugs; Left ventricle dysfunction; Levosimendan
The authors examined whether milrinone and levosimendan could exert cardiac postconditioning effects in rats under normoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and whether the effects could be mediated by mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP).
Wistar rats underwent 30-min coronary artery occlusion followed by 2-h reperfusion. The rats received milrinone or levosimendan just before reperfusion under normoglycemic or hyperglycemic conditions with or without atractyloside, an mPTP opener.
Under normoglycemia, both 30 μg/kg milrinone (29 ± 12%) and 10 μg/kg levosimendan (33 ± 13%) reduced infarct size compared with that in the control (58 ± 7%). Under hyperglycemia, milrinone (34 ± 13%) reduced infarct size at the same dose as under normoglycemia. In contrast, neither 10 nor 30 μg/kg levosimendan protected hyperglycemic hearts, and only 100 μg/kg levosimendan (32 ± 9%) reduced infarct size compared with that in the hyperglycemic control (58 ± 13%). All of these cardioprotective effects under normoglycemia and hyperglycemia are abolished by atractyloside.
Milrinone and levosimendan exert postconditioning effects via inhibition of mPTP opening. Hyperglycemia raises the threshold of levosimendan-induced postconditioning, while milrinone-induced postconditioning is not influenced by hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia; Postconditioning; Myocardial Infarction; Milrinone; Levosimendan; Mitochondrial permeability transition pore
We investigated both the effect of levosimendan and the role of oxidant/antioxidant status and trace element levels in the pulmonary artery of rats. Fourteen male Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into two groups of seven animals each. Group 1 was not exposed to levosimendan and served as a control. Levosimendan (12 μg/kg) diluted in 10 ml 0.9 % NaCl was administered intraperitoneally to group 2. Animals of both groups were killed after 3 days, and their pulmonary arteries were harvested to determine changes in tissue oxidant/antioxidant status and trace element levels. The animals in both groups were killed 72 h after the levosimendan exposure treatment, and pulmonary arteries were harvested to determine levels of the lipid peroxidation product MDA and the antioxidant GSH as well as the decreased activity of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, GSH-Px and CAT. It was found that MDA levels increased in pulmonary artery tissues of rats after levosimendan administration. The GSH level decreased in the pulmonary artery of rats after levosimendan treatment. Co, Mn, Fe, Cd and Pb levels were significantly higher (P < 0.001) and Mg, Zn and Cu levels significantly lower (P < 0.001) in the levosimendan group compared to the control group. These results suggest that levosimendan treatment caused an increase in free radical production and a decrease in antioxidant enzyme activity in the pulmonary artery of levosimendan-treated rats. It also caused a decrease or increase in the levels of many minerals in the pulmonary artery, which is an undesirable condition for normal pharmacological function.
Levosimendan; Oxidative stress; Free radical; Oxidant/antioxidant; Pulmonary artery
Temporary occlusion of the hepatoduodenal ligament leads to an ischemic-reperfusion (IR) injury in the liver. Levosimendan is a new positive inotropic drug, which induces preconditioning-like adaptive mechanisms due to opening of mitochondrial KATP channels. The aim of this study was to examine possible protective effects of levosimendan in a rat model of hepatic IR injury.
Material and Methods
Levosimendan was administered to male Wistar rats 1 hour (early pretreatment) or 24 hours (late pretreatment) before induction of 60-minute segmental liver ischemia. Microcirculation of the liver was monitored by laser Doppler flowmeter. After 24 hours of reperfusion, liver and blood samples were taken for histology, immuno- and enzyme-histochemistry (TUNEL; PARP; NADH-TR) as well as for laboratory tests. Furthermore, liver antioxidant status was assessed and HSP72 expression was measured.
In both groups pretreated with levosimendan, significantly better hepatic microcirculation was observed compared to respective IR control groups. Similarly, histological damage was also reduced after levosimendan administration. This observation was supported by significantly lower activities of serum ALT (pearly = 0.02; plate = 0.005), AST (pearly = 0.02; plate = 0.004) and less DNA damage by TUNEL test (pearly = 0.05; plate = 0.034) and PAR positivity (pearly = 0.02; plate = 0.04). Levosimendan pretreatment resulted in significant improvement of liver redox homeostasis. Further, significantly better mitochondrial function was detected in animals receiving late pretreatment. Finally, HSP72 expression was increased by IR injury, but it was not affected by levosimendan pretreatment.
Levosimendan pretreatment can be hepatoprotective and it could be useful before extensive liver resection.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of short-term levosimendan exposure on oxidant/antioxidant status and trace element levels in the testes of rats under physiological conditions. Twenty male Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into two groups of 10 animals each. Group 1 was not exposed to levosimendan and served as control. Levosimendan (12 µg/kg) diluted in 10 mL 0.9% NaCl was administered intraperitoneally to group 2. Animals of both groups were sacrificed after 3 days and their testes were harvested for the determination of changes in tissue oxidant/antioxidant status and trace element levels. Tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) was significantly lower in the levosimendan group (P < 0.001) than in the untreated control group and superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) levels were significantly higher in the levosimendan group (P < 0.001). Carbonic anhydrase, catalase and GSH levels were not significantly different from controls. Mg and Zn levels of testes were significantly higher (P < 0.001) and Co, Pb, Cd, Mn, and Cu were significantly lower (P < 0.001) in group 2 compared to group 1. Fe levels were similar for the two groups (P = 0.94). These results suggest that 3-day exposure to levosimendan induced a significant decrease in tissue MDA level, which is a lipid peroxidation product and an indicator of oxidative stress, and a significant increase in the activity of an important number of the enzymes that protect against oxidative stress in rat testes.
Levosimendan; Oxidative stress; Reactive oxygen species; Rat testes; SOD; GSH-Px; MDA
Levosimendan has anti-ischaemic effects, improves myocardial contractility and increases systemic, pulmonary and coronary vasodilatation. These properties suggest potential advantages in high-risk cardiac valve surgery patients where cardioprotection would be valuable. The present study investigated the peri-operative haemodynamic effects of prophylactic levosimendan infusion in cardiac valve surgery patients with low ejection fraction and/or severe pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Between May 2006 and July 2007, 20 consecutive patients with severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (systolic pulmonary artery pressure ≥ 60 mmHg) and/or low ejection fraction (< 50%) who underwent valve surgery in our clinic were included in the study and randomised into two groups. Levosimendan was administered to 10 patients in group I and not to the 10 patients in the control group. Cardiac output (CO), cardiac index (CI), systemic vascular resistance (SVR), pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and mean pulmonary artery pressure (MPAP) were recorded for each patient preoperatively and for 24 hours following the operation.
CO and CI values were higher in the levosimendan group during the study period (p < 0.05). MPAP and PVR values were significantly lower in the levosimendan group for the 24-hour period (p < 0.05) and SVR values were significantly lower after 24 hours in both groups. When clinical results were considered, no difference in favour of levosimendan was detected regarding the mortality and morbidity rates between the groups.
Levosimendan improved the haemodynamics in cardiac valve surgery patients with low ejection fraction and/or severe pulmonary arterial hypertension, and facilitated weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass in such high-risk patients when started as a prophylactic agent.
cardiac valve; cardiac surgery; pulmonary hypertension; levosimendan; left ventricular dysfunction
We investigated the neuroprotective properties of levosimendan, a novel inodilator, in an in vitro model of traumatic brain injury.
Organotypic hippocampal brain slices from mouse pups were subjected to a focal mechanical trauma. Slices were treated after the injury with three different concentrations of levosimendan (0.001, 0.01 and 0.1 μM) and compared to vehicle-treated slices. After 72 hrs, the trauma was quantified using propidium iodide to mark the injured cells.
A significant dose-dependent reduction of both total and secondary tissue injury was observed in cells treated with either 0.01 or 0.1 μM levosimendan compared to vehicle-treated slices.
Levosimendan represents a promising new pharmacological tool for neuroprotection after brain injury and warrants further investigation in an in vivo model.
Background: Levosimendan is a calcium sensitizer that has been shown to prevent myocardial contractile depression in patients post cardiac surgery. This drug exhibits an anti-apoptotic property; however, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. In this report, we characterized the myocardial protective of levosimendan in preventing cardiomyocyte apoptosis and post-operative stunning in an experimental ischemia–reperfusion model. Methods: Three groups of pigs (n = 8 per group) were subjected to 40 min of global, cardioplegic ischemia followed by 240 min of reperfusion. Levosimendan (65 μg/kg body weight) was given to pigs by intravenous infusion (L-IV) before ischemia or intracoronary administration during ischemia (L-IC). The Control group did not receive any levosimendan. Echocardiography was used to monitor cardiac function in all groups. Apoptosis levels were assessed from the left ventricle using the terminal transferase mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay and immunocytochemical detection of Caspase-3. Results: Pigs after ischemia–reperfusion had a much higher TUNEL%, suggesting that our treatment protocol was effective. Levels of apoptosis were significantly increased in Control pigs that did not receive any levosimendan (0.062 ± 0.044%) relative to those received levosimendan either before (0.02 ± 0.017%, p = 0.03) or during (0.02 ± 0.017%, p = 0.03) the ischemia phase. Longitudinal left ventricular contraction in pigs that received levosimendan before ischemia (0.75 ± 0.12 mm) was significantly higher than those received levosimendan during ischemia (0.53 ± 0.11 mm, p = 0.003) or Control pigs (0.54 ± 0.11 mm, p = 0.01). Conclusion: Our results suggested that pigs received levosimendan displayed a markedly improved cell survival post I–R. The effect on cardiac contractility was only significant in our perfusion heart model when levosimendan was delivered intravenously before ischemia.
myocardial protection; apoptosis; ischemia/reperfusion injury; animal model
The calcium sensitizer levosimendan has been used in cardiac surgery for the treatment of postoperative low cardiac output syndrome (LCOS) and difficult weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB).
To evaluate the effects of preoperative treatment with levosimendan on 30-day mortality, the risk of developing LCOS and the requirement for inotropes, vasopressors and intra-aortic balloon pumps in patients with severe left ventricular dysfunction.
Patient with severe left ventricular dysfunction and an ejection fraction <25% undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting with CPB were admitted 24 h before surgery and were randomly assigned to receive levosimendan (loading dose 10 μg/kg followed by a 23 h continuous infusion of 0.1μg/kg/min) or a placebo.
From December 1, 2002 to June 1, 2008, a total of 252 patients were enrolled (127 in the levosimendan group and 125 in the control group). Individuals treated with levosimendan exhibited a lower incidence of complicated weaning from CPB (2.4% versus 9.6%; P<0.05), decreased mortality (3.9% versus 12.8%; P<0.05) and a lower incidence of LCOS (7.1% versus 20.8%; P<0.05) compared with the control group. The levosimendan group also had a lower requirement for inotropes (7.9% versus 58.4%; P<0.05), vasopressors (14.2% versus 45.6%; P<0.05) and intra-aortic balloon pumps (6.3% versus 30.4%; P<0.05).
Patients with severe left ventricle dysfunction (ejection fraction <25%) undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting with CPB who were pretreated with levosimendan exhibited lower mortality, a decreased risk for developing LCOS and a reduced requirement for inotropes, vasopressors and intra-aortic balloon pumps. Studies with a larger number of patients are required to confirm whether these findings represent a new strategy to reduce the operative risk in this high-risk patient population.
Cardiac surgery; Hemodynamic optimization; Inotropic agents; Levosimendan; Postoperative low cardiac output
Levosimendan is an extensively investigated inodilator showing also cardioprotective and antiinflammatory effects. The aim of our study was to explore the influence of levosimendan on polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMN), a main source of reactive oxygen species, in vitro and in patients with acute heart failure or septic myocardial depression.
PMN isolated from healthy volunteers were incubated with levosimendan in vitro. After stimulation with N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP) or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) respiratory burst was quantified using a fluorescent dye. Apoptosis and expression of cell adhesion molecules of PMN were measured by flow cytometry. For determination of in vivo effects patients with acute heart failure (n = 16) or septic cardiac failure (n = 9) receiving levosimendan treatment were enrolled consecutively. PMN were isolated to measure respiratory burst activity before treatment as well as one and two hours after initiation of levosimendan administration. Furthermore inflammatory, hemodynamic and renal function parameters were obtained.
In vitro, levosimendan suppressed respiratory burst activity in fMLP or PMA stimulated PMN in a dose dependent manner by 30 ± 11% (P < 0.001) at 100 ng/mL and by 27 ± 17% (P < 0.001) at 1000 ng/mL respectively. Markers of apoptosis and PMN cell adhesion molecule expression remained unaffected by levosimendan treatment.
In vivo, levosimendan treatment for two hours resulted in a significant reduction of PMA stimulated oxidative burst by 45% (P < 0.01) and fMLP stimulated oxidative burst by 49% (P < 0.05) in patients with acute heart failure. In patients suffering from septic shock levosimendan treatment decreased oxidative burst activity in unstimulated, fMLP and PMA stimulated PMN by 48% (P < 0.05), 46% (P < 0.01) and 43% (P < 0.01) respectively.
Levosimendan appears to exert distinct immunomodulatory effects by decreasing oxidative burst activity of PMN. This property might contribute to the previously described cardioprotective effects of the drug.
Acute decompensation heart failure (ADHF) remains a cause of hospitalization in patients with end-stage congestive HF. The administration of levosimendan in comparison with a standard therapy in CHF patients admitted for ADHF was analysed.
Consecutive patients admitted for ADHF (NYHA class III–IV) were treated with levosimendan infusion 0.1 μg/kg/min or with furosemide infusion 100–160 mg per day for 48 hours (control group). All subjects underwent determination of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), non-invasive cardiac output (CO), and echocardiogram at baseline, at the end of therapy and 1 week after therapy.
Seven patients admitted for 20 treatments in 16 months (age 66 years; mean admission/year 5.4) were treated with levosimendan and compared with 7 patients admitted for 15 treatments (age 69.1 years; mean admission/year 6.1). At the end of levosimendan therapy, BNP decreased (from 679.7±512.1 pg/ml to 554.2±407.6 pg/ml p=0.03), and 6MWT and LVEF improved (from 217.6±97.7 m to 372.2±90.4 m p=0.0001; from 22.8±9.1% to 25.4±9.8% p=0.05). Deceleration time, E/A, E/E’, TAPSE, pulmonary pressure and CO did not change significantly after levosimendan therapy and after 1 week. At follow-up, only 6-min WT and NYHA class showed a significant improvement (p=0.0001, p=0.001 respectively). The furosemide infusion reduced NYHA class and body weight (from 3.4±0.6 to 2.3±0.5 p=0.001; from 77.5±8.6 kg to 76±6.6 kg p=0.04), but impaired renal function (clearances from 56.3±21.9 ml/min to 41.2±10.1 ml/min p=0.04).
Treating end-stage CHF patients with levosimendan improved BNP and LVEF, but this effect disappeared after 1 week. The amelioration of 6MWT and NYHA class lasted longer after levosimendan infusion.
brain natriuretic peptide; end-stage heart failure; levosimendan
Levosimendan is a novel inodilator that improves central haemodynamics and symptoms of patients with decompensated chronic heart failure. The role, however, of repeated levosimendan infusions in the management of these patients has not yet been properly assessed.
This randomised placebo‐controlled trial investigated the effects of serial levosimendan infusions on cardiac geometry and function, and on biomarkers of myocardial injury and neurohormonal and immune activation (troponin T, N‐terminal B‐type natriuretic pro‐peptide (NT‐proBNP), C reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin (IL) 6) in patients with advanced heart failure.
25 patients with decompensated chronic heart failure were randomised (2:1) to receive five serial 24‐h infusions (every 3 weeks) of either levosimendan (n = 17) or placebo (n = 8), and were evaluated echocardiographically and biochemically before and after each drug infusion and 30 days after the final infusion.
Following treatment, cardiac end‐systolic and end‐diastolic dimension and volume indices were significantly reduced only in the levosimendan‐treated patients (p<0.01). A significant decrease in NT‐proBNP (p<0.01), high‐sensitivity CRP (p<0.01) and plasma IL6 (p = 0.05) was also observed in the levosimendan group, whereas these markers remained unchanged in the placebo group; similar changes were observed after each drug infusion. Although the number of patients with a positive troponin T (⩾0.01 ng/ml) was not different between the two groups at baseline, it was significantly higher in the placebo‐treated group during the final evaluation (p<0.05).
Serial levosimendan treatments improved left ventricular performance and modulated neurohormonal and immune activation beneficially in patients with advanced heart failure, without increasing myocardial injury.
Advanced heart failure (HF) is associated with high morbidity and mortality; it represents a major burden for the health system. Episodes of acute decompensation requiring frequent and prolonged hospitalizations account for most HF-related expenditure. Inotropic drugs are frequently used during hospitalization, but rarely in out-patients. The LAICA clinical trial aims to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of monthly levosimendan infusion in patients with advanced HF to reduce the incidence of hospital admissions for acute HF decompensation.
The LAICA study is a multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial. It aims to recruit 213 out-patients, randomized to receive either a 24-h infusion of levosimendan at 0.1 μg/kg/min dose, without a loading dose, every 30 days, or placebo.
The main objective is to assess the incidence of admission for acute HF worsening during 12 months. Secondarily, the trial will assess the effect of intermittent levosimendan on other variables, including the time in days from randomization to first admission for acute HF worsening, mortality and serious adverse events.
The LAICA trial results could allow confirmation of the usefulness of intermittent levosimendan infusion in reducing the rate of hospitalization for HF worsening in advanced HF outpatients.
Advanced heart failure; Levosimendan; Efficacy; Safety; Repeated administration; Outpatients
Levosimendan (Levo) increases sensitivity of troponin-C to calcium, thus increasing myocardial contractility. It is also a vascular K+-ATP channel agonist producing peripheral vasodilation. Previous research with levosimendan revealed an increase in cardiac output (CO) but not blood pressure (BP) in experimental verapamil poisoning. Levosimendan’s K+-channel agonist properties may augment verapamil’s vasodilatory effects. 4-Aminopyridine (4-AP) is a K+-channel antagonist. It has successfully reversed hypotension in experimental verapamil poisoning. We hypothesized that coadministration of these agents may improve BP and CO in verapamil poisoning. Anesthetized, ventilated, and canulated male Wistar rats were poisoned with verapamil. Animals received one of six treatments, which are as follows: (1) n-saline infusion (control), (2) Levo 6.25 μg/kg loading dose and 36 μg/kg/h infusion, (3) 4-AP 2 mg/kg loading dose and infusion (4-AP), (4) Levo+4-AP, (5) CaCl2 loading dose and infusion, and (6) Levo+CaCl2. Hemodynamic parameters were recorded for 60 min. Outcome measures were changes in CO, BP, and heart rate (HR) compared to control. All groups had similar pretoxicity and peak toxicity CO (50% of pretoxicity value), BP (50% or pretoxicity value), and HR. Control group CO, BP, and HR progressively dropped during the verapamil infusion. Levosimendan produced a statistically significant improvement in CO (75% of pretoxicity level) but not BP in comparison to control. 4-AP produced a significant improvement in CO (110% of pretoxicity) and BP (78% of pretoxicity). Levo+4-AP and Levo+CaCl2 groups improved CO (100% of pretoxicity) and BP (77% and 50% of pretoxicity, respectively), but there was no additive increase in CO or BP in animals compared to 4-AP or CaCl2 alone. Levosimendan moderately improved CO but not BP in verapamil poisoning. The hypotensive effects of levosimendan were not overcome by coadministration of either 4-AP or CaCl2. Levosimendan may not be an appropriate agent to use in the treatment of verapamil poisoning.
Poisoning; Overdose; Calcium channel blockers; Verapamil; Levosimendan; Aminopyridine; Rodent
Background. Levosimendan is an inotropic drug with unique pharmacological advantages in patients with acute heart failure. Scope of this study is to determine whether longer infusion patterns without the hypotension-inducing loading dose could justify an effective and safe alternative approach. Methods. 70 patients admitted to the emergencies with decompensated chronic heart failure received intravenously levosimendan without a loading dose up to 72 hours. Clinical parameters, BNP (Brain Natriuretic Peptide) and signal-averaged-ECG data (SAECG) were recorded up to 72 hours. Results. The 48-hour group demonstrated a statistically significant BNP decrease (P < .001) after 48 hours, which also maintained after 72 hours. The 72-hour group demonstrated a bordeline decrease of BNP after 48 hours (P = .039), necessitating an additional 24-hour infusion to achieve significant reduction after 72 hours (P < .004). SAECG data demonstrated a statistically significant decrease after 72 hours (P < .04). Apart from two deaths due to advanced heart failure, no major complications were observed. Conclusion. Prolonged infusion of levosimendan without a loading dose is associated with an acceptable clinical and neurohumoral response.
To study the effects of pretreatment with levosimendan (LEVO, a Ca2+-sensitizer and KATP+ channel opener) and/or the KATP+ channel antagonist glibenclamide (GLIB) on systemic hemodynamics, metabolism, and regional gastromucosal oxygenation during hypoxic hypoxemia.
Chronically instrumented, healthy dogs (24–32 kg, n = 6 per group, randomized cross-over design) were repeatedly sedated, mechanically ventilated (FiO2 ~0.3) and subjected to the following interventions: no pretreatment, LEVO pretreatment, GLIB pretreatment, or combined LEVO + GLIB pretreatment, each followed by hypoxic hypoxemia (FiO2 ~0.1). We measured cardiac output (CO, ultrasonic flow probes), oxygen consumption (VO2, indirect calorimetry), and gastromucosal microvascular hemoglobin oxygenation (μHbO2, spectrophotometry). Statistics: data are presented as mean ± SEM and compared by one-way ANOVA (direct drug effects within group) and two-way ANOVA (between all hypoxic conditions) both with Bonferroni corrections; p < 0.05.
In LEVO-pretreated hypoxemia, CO was significantly higher compared to unpretreated hypoxemia. The increased CO was neither associated with an increased VO2 nor with markers of aggravated anaerobiosis (pH, BE, lactate). In addition, LEVO pretreatment did not further compromise gastromucosal μHbO2 in hypoxemia. After combined LEVO + GLIB pretreatment, systemic effects of GLIB were apparent, however, CO was significantly higher than during unpretreated and GLIB-pretreated hypoxemia, but equal to LEVO-pretreated hypoxemia, indicating that GLIB did not prevent the increased CO in LEVO-pretreated hypoxia.
LEVO pretreatment resulted in improved systemic circulation (CO) during hypoxemia without fueling systemic VO2, without aggravating systemic anaerobiosis markers, and without further compromising microvascular gastromucosal oxygenation. Thus, LEVO pretreatment may be an option to support the systemic circulation during hypoxia.
Levosimendan; Hypoxia; Glibenclamide; Microcirculation; Oxygen; Metabolism
This the case of a 63 year-old man with end-stage renal disease (on chronic hemodialysis), unstable angina and significantly impaired myocardial contractility with low left ventricular ejection fraction, who underwent off-pump one vessel coronary bypass surgery. Combined continuous levosimendan and norepinephrine infusion (at 0.07 μg/kg/min and 0.05 μg/kg/min respectively) started immediately after anesthesia induction and continued for 24 hours. The levosimendan/norepinephrine combination helped maintain an appropriate hemodynamic profile, thereby contributing to uneventful completion of surgery and postoperative hemodynamic stability. Although levosimendan is considered contraindicated in ESRD patients, this case report suggests that combined perioperative levosimendan/norepinephrine administration can be useful in carefully selected hemodialysis patients with impaired myocardial contractility and ongoing myocardial ischemia, who undergo off-pump myocardial revascularization surgery.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate microcirculatory blood flow in patients with septic shock treated with levosimendan as compared to an active comparator drug (i.e. dobutamine). The primary end point was a difference of ≥ 20% in the microvascular flow index of small vessels (MFIs) among groups.
The study was designed as a prospective, randomized, double-blind clinical trial and performed in a multidisciplinary intensive care unit. After achieving normovolemia and a mean arterial pressure of at least 65 mmHg, 40 septic shock patients were randomized to receive either levosimendan 0.2 μg·kg-1·min-1 (n = 20) or an active comparator (dobutamine 5 μg·kg-1·min-1; control; n = 20) for 24 hours. Sublingual microcirculatory blood flow of small and medium vessels was assessed by sidestream dark-field imaging. Microcirculatory variables and data from right heart catheterization were obtained at baseline and 24 hours after randomization. Baseline and demographic data were compared by means of Mann-Whitney rank sum test or chi-square test, as appropriate. Microvascular and hemodynamic variables were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney rank sum test.
Microcirculatory flow indices of small and medium vessels increased over time and were significantly higher in the levosimendan group as compared to the control group (24 hrs: MFIm 3.0 (3.0; 3.0) vs. 2.9 (2.8; 3.0); P = .02; MFIs 2.9 (2.9; 3.0) vs. 2.7 (2.3; 2.8); P < .001). The relative increase of perfused vessel density vs. baseline was significantly higher in the levosimendan group than in the control group (dMFIm 10 (3; 23)% vs. 0 (-1; 9)%; P = .007; dMFIs 47 (26; 83)% vs. 10 (-3; 27); P < .001). In addition, the heterogeneity index decreased only in the levosimendan group (dHI -93 (-100; -84)% vs. 0 (-78; 57)%; P < .001). There was no statistically significant correlation between systemic and microcirculatory flow variables within each group (each P > .05).
Compared to a standard dose of 5 μg·kg-1·min-1 of dobutamine, levosimendan at 0.2 μg·kg-1·min-1 improved sublingual microcirculatory blood flow in patients with septic shock, as reflected by changes in microcirculatory flow indices of small and medium vessels.
The aim of this study is to compare the effects of a 24 h intravenous infusion of levosimendan and a 48 h infusion of dobutamine on invasive haemodynamics in patients with acutely decompensated chronic NYHA class III–IV heart failure. All patients were receiving optimal oral therapy including a β-blocker.
Methods and results
This was a multinational, randomized, double-blind, phase IV study in 60 patients; follow-up was 1 month. There was a significant increase in cardiac index and a significant decrease in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) at 24 and 48 h for both dobutamine and levosimendan. The improvement in cardiac index with levosimendan was not significantly different from dobutamine at 24 h (P = 0.07), but became significant at 48 h (0.44 ± 0.56 vs. 0.66 ± 0.63 L/min/m2; P = 0.04). At 24 h, the reduction in the mean change in PCWP from baseline was similar for levosimendan and dobutamine, however, at 48 h the difference was more marked for levosimendan (−3.6 ± 7.6 vs. −8.3 ± 6.7 mmHg; P = 0.02). No difference was observed between the groups for change in NYHA class, β-blocker use, hospitalizations, treatment discontinuations or rescue medication use. Reduction in B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) was significantly greater with levosimendan at 48 h (P = 0.03). According to physician's assessment, the improvement in fatigue (P = 0.01) and dyspnoea (P = 0.04) was in favour of dobutamine treatment, and hypotension was significantly more frequent with levosimendan (P = 0.007). No increase in atrial fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia was seen in either group.
A 24 h levosimendan infusion achieved haemodynamic and neurohormonal improvement that was at least comparable at 24 h and superior at 48 h to a 48 h dobutamine infusion.
Levosimendan; Dobutamine; Decompensated heart failure; Invasive monitoring
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of levosimendan on mortality in cardiogenic shock (CS) after ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Methods and results:
Data were obtained prospectively from the SCAAR (Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Register) and the RIKS-HIA (Register of Information and Knowledge about Swedish Heart Intensive Care Admissions) about 94 consecutive patients with CS due to STEMI. Patients were classified into levosimendan-mandatory and levosimendan-contraindicated cohorts. Inotropic support with levosimendan was mandatory in all patients between January 2004 and December 2005 (n = 46). After the SURVIVE and REVIVE II studies were presented, levosimendan was considered contraindicated and was not used in consecutive patients between December 2005 and December 2006 (n = 48). The cohorts were similar with respect to pre-treatment characteristics and concomitant medications. There was no difference in the incidence of new-onset atrial fibrillation, in-hospital cardiac arrest and length of stay at the coronary care unit. There was no difference in adjusted mortality at 30 days and at one year.
The use of levosimendan neither improves nor worsens mortality in patients with CS due to STEMI. Well-designed randomized clinical trials are needed to define the role of inotropic therapy in the treatment of CS.
shock; myocardial infarction; inotropic agents; heart failure; pharmacology