BACKGROUND: In patients with acute heart failure, early intervention with an intravenous vasodilator has been proposed as a therapeutic goal to reduce cardiac-wall stress and, potentially, myocardial injury, thereby favorably affecting patients' long-term prognosis. METHODS: In this double-blind trial, we randomly assigned 2157 patients with acute heart failure to receive a continuous intravenous infusion of either ularitide at a dose of 15 ng per kilogram of body weight per minute or matching placebo for 48 hours, in addition to accepted therapy. Treatment was initiated a median of 6 hours after the initial clinical evaluation. The coprimary outcomes were death from cardiovascular causes during a median follow-up of 15 months and a hierarchical composite end point that evaluated the initial 48-hour clinical course. RESULTS: Death from cardiovascular causes occurred in 236 patients in the ularitide group and 225 patients in the placebo group (21.7% vs. 21.0%; hazard ratio, 1.03; 96% confidence interval, 0.85 to 1.25; P=0.75). In the intention-to-treat analysis, there was no significant between-group difference with respect to the hierarchical composite outcome. The ularitide group had greater reductions in systolic blood pressure and in levels of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide than the placebo group. However, changes in cardiac troponin T levels during the infusion did not differ between the two groups in the 55% of patients with paired data. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with acute heart failure, ularitide exerted favorable physiological effects (without affecting cardiac troponin levels), but short-term treatment did not affect a clinical composite end point or reduce long-term cardiovascular mortality.
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