BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Because high-dose angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy is desirable in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), we sought to determine the usage and dosing patterns of ACE inhibitors in CHF patients at a governmental hospital in Palestine.
This cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2006 and August 2007. All patients admitted with a confirmed diagnosis of CHF and an ejection fraction <40% were evaluated. After excluding patients with a caution/contraindication to ACE inhibitor use or not taking an ACE inhibitor, we determined the number of patients receiving optimal (captopril 150-300 mg/day, enalapril 20-40 mg/day, ramipril 5-10 mg/day) and suboptimal doses. We then conducted statistical analyses to evaluate associations between ACE inhibitor use and dosing and various demographic and clinical factors.
Of the 165 patients initially evaluated, 69 (41.8%) had a caution/contraindication (n=28, 40.6%) or were not using an ACE inhibitor (n=41, 59.4%). Of the remaining 96 patients (70.1%), 49/96 (51%) were given an optimal dose while 47/96 (49%) were given a suboptimal dose. Of all patients with CHF and no contraindication (n=137), 88 (64.2%) were either receiving no ACE inhibitor or a suboptimal dose. Only the presence of hypertension was significantly associated with the use of an ACE inhibitor (P=.009, odds ratio=2.7). The use of an optimal dose was not significantly associated with any of the tested factors (age, gender, presence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, renal dysfunction, ischemic heart disease or number of diagnosis).
Underutilization and suboptimal dosing of ACE inhibitors was common. Since there is an abundance of evidence in favor of using high-dose ACE inhibitor therapy in patients with CHF, physicians need to be educated about proper dosing of these agents.