Int J Cardiol. 2016 Apr 15;209:77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.02.014. Epub 2016 Feb 3.
BACKGROUND: Levosimendan is an inodilator developed for treatment of acute heart failure and other cardiac conditions where the use of an inodilator is considered appropriate. Levosimendan has been studied in different therapeutic settings including acutely decompensated chronic heart failure, advanced heart failure, right ventricular failure, cardiogenic shock, septic shock, and cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. This variety of data has been re-analysed in 25 meta-analyses from 15 different international research groups, based on different rationales to select the studies included. METHODS: We here review all previously published meta-analyses on levosimendan to determine any common denominators for its effects on patient mortality. In addition, we also perform a comparative meta-analysis of the six phase II and III randomized double-blind trials which were taken into consideration by the regulatory authorities for the purpose of introducing levosimendan into the market. RESULTS: Irrespective of clinical setting or comparator, all meta-analyses consistently show benefits for levosimendan, with lower relative risk (or odds ratio) for patient mortality. In 3/25 of the meta-analyses these beneficial trends did not reach statistical significance, while in 22/25 significance was reached. The relative risk is consistent overall, and very similar to that obtained in our own meta-analysis that considered only the 'regulatory' studies. CONCLUSION: The existing meta-analyses, now based on a population of over 6000 patients, provide the general message of significant benefits for levosimendan in terms of patient mortality. The weight of evidence is now clearly in favour of usefulness/efficacy of levosimendan, with data from multiple randomized trials and meta-analyses.
The postoperative low cardiac output is one of the most important complications following cardiac surgery and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The condition requires inotropic support to achieve adequate hemodynamic status and tissue perfusion. While catecholamines are utilised as a standard therapy in cardiac surgery, their use is limited due to increased oxygen consumption. Levosimendan is calcium sensitising inodilatator expressing positive inotropic effect by binding with cardiac troponin C without increasing oxygen demand. Furthermore, the drug opens potassium ATP (KATP) channels in cardiac mitochondria and in the vascular muscle cells, showing cardioprotective and vasodilator properties, respectively. In the past decade, levosimendandemonstrated promising results in treating patients with reduced left ventricular function when administered in peri- or post- operative settings. In addition, pre-operative use of levosimendan in patients with severely reduced left ventricular ejection fraction may reduce the requirements for postoperative inotropic support, mechanical support, duration of intensive care unit stay as well as hospital stay and a decrease in post-operative mortality. However, larger studies are needed to clarify clinical advantages of levosimendan versus conventional inotropes.
KEYWORDS: Cardiac surgery; Heart failure; Levosimendan; Myocardial dysfunction; Ventricular function
Int J Cardiol. 2016 Nov 1;222:303-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.07.202. Epub 2016 Jul 29.Abstract
Levosimendan is a positive inotrope with vasodilating properties (inodilator) indicated for decompensated heart failure (HF) patients with low cardiac output. Accumulated evidence supports several pleiotropic effects of levosimendan beyond inotropy, the heart and decompensated HF. Those effects are not readily explained by cardiac function enhancement and seem to be related to additional properties of the drug such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic ones. Mechanistic and proof-of-concept studies are still required to clarify the underlying mechanisms involved, while properly designed clinical trials are warranted to translate preclinical or early-phase clinical data into more robust clinical evidence. The present position paper, derived by a panel of 35 experts in the field of cardiology, cardiac anesthesiology, intensive care medicine, cardiac physiology, and cardiovascular pharmacology from 22 European countries, compiles the existing evidence on the pleiotropic effects of levosimendan, identifies potential novel areas of clinical application and defines the corresponding gaps in evidence and the required research efforts to address those gaps.
KEYWORDS: Cardiogenic shock; Cardioprotection; Heart failure; Inotropes; Levosimendan; Organ protection
Int J Cardiol. 2016 Sep 1;218:150-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.05.009. Epub 2016 May 14.
Acute heart failure and/or cardiogenic shock are frequently triggered by ischemic coronary events. Yet, there is a paucity of randomized data on the management of patients with heart failure complicating acute coronary syndrome, as acute coronary syndrome and cardiogenic shock have frequently been defined as exclusion criteria in trials and registries. As a consequence, guideline recommendations are mostly driven by observational studies, even though these patients have a particularly poor prognosis compared to heart failure patients without signs of coronary artery disease. In acute heart failure, and especially in cardiogenic shock related to ischemic conditions, vasopressors and inotropes are used. However, both pathophysiological considerations and available clinical data suggest that these treatments may have disadvantageous effects. The inodilator levosimendan offers potential benefits due to a range of distinct effects including positive inotropy, restoration of ventriculo-arterial coupling, increases in tissue perfusion, and anti-stunning and anti-inflammatory effects. In clinical trials levosimendan improves symptoms, cardiac function, hemodynamics, and end-organ function. Adverse effects are generally less common than with other inotropic and vasoactive therapies, with the notable exception of hypotension. The decision to use levosimendan, in terms of timing and dosing, is influenced by the presence of pulmonary congestion, and blood pressure measurements. Levosimendan should be preferred over adrenergic inotropes as a first line therapy for all ACS-AHF patients who are under beta-blockade and/or when urinary output is insufficient after diuretics. Levosimendan can be used alone or in combination with other inotropic or vasopressor agents, but requires monitoring due to the risk of hypotension.
J Clin Med Res. 2014 Apr;6(2):75-85. doi: 10.14740/jocmr1702w. Epub 2014 Feb 6.
Levosimendan, the active enantiomer of simendan, is a calcium sensitizer developed for treatment of decompensated heart failure, exerts its effects independently of the beta adrenergic receptor and seems beneficial in cases of severe, intractable heart failure. Levosimendan is usually administered as 24-h infusion, with or without a loading dose, but dosing needs adjustment in patients with severe liver or renal dysfunction. Despite several promising reports, the role of levosimendan in critical illness has not been thoroughly evaluated. Available evidence suggests that levosimendan is a safe treatment option in critically ill patients and may reduce mortality from cardiac failure. However, data from well-designed randomized controlled trials in critically ill patients are needed to validate or refute these preliminary conclusions. This literature review is an attempt to synthesize available evidence on the role and possible benefits of levosimendan in critically ill patients with severe heart failure.