SUMMARY Objective: In randomized clinical trials, aldosterone antagonists have been shown to reduce mortality and morbidity in heart failure (HF). The aim of the present study was to examine the riskbenefit profile of aldosterone antagonists in routine clinical practice. Methods: A retrospective analysis, extending over a 1-year period, of the clinical, instrumental and laboratory data of 264 HF outpatients was performed. All patients were on a b-blocker and an ACE-inhibitor (or angiotensin-II receptorblocker) and 151 were taking an aldosterone antagonist. Results: At baseline, subjects treated with aldosterone antagonists had a higher NYHA class, a larger left-ventricular end-diastolic volume, a worse ejection fraction and a higher systolic pulmonary arterial pressure (sPAP). During followup, a greater reduction in sPAP and a tendency towards improved systolic and diastolic function were observed in subjects treated with aldosterone antagonists. Moreover, clinical and laboratory parameters did not deteriorate in patients taking aldosterone antagonists. Mortality rates were similar in the two groups (8Æ6%vs. 8Æ8%, P = NS). Conclusions: The use of aldosterone antagonists in HF is associated with an improvement in cardiac function and is well tolerated. In the present study, patients administered these agents had a comparable clinical outcome to that of the control group, despite important differences in baseline risk. Keywords: aldosterone antagonists, drug utilisation, heart failure, hyperkalaemia, spironolactone
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