We sought to compare the neurohormonal responses and clinical effects of long-term, high-dose versus low-dose enalapril in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).Examination of neurohormonal and clinical responses in patients receiving different doses of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors may provide insight into the potential for additional suppression with angiotensin II (AT-II) or aldosterone antagonists.Seventy-five patients with CHF were randomized to receive either high-dose (40 mg/day, n = 37) or low-dose (5 mg/day, n = 38) enalapril over six months. The results from exercise testing, echocardiography, tissue-specific ACE activity and monthly pre- and post-enalapril neurohormonal levels were compared.Despite greater intra-group improvements in plasma renin activity and serum aldosterone levels in the high-dose group, no statistically significant differences were observed between the two groups in all variables, except for serum ACE activity at the end of study. Elevated serum aldosterone and plasma AT-II levels were observed in 35% and 85% of patients, respectively, at 34 weeks, an inter-group difference that was not statistically significant. A trend toward higher levels of tissue-specific ACE activity in the high-dose group compared with the low-dose group at the end of study was observed (p = 0.054). A predefined composite end point of clinical events had a trend toward better improvement in the high-dose group.This study could not demonstrate a difference between high- and low-dose enalapril in terms of serum aldosterone and plasma AT-II suppression, despite a dose-dependent reduction in serum ACE activity. Even at maximal doses of enalapril, elevated serum aldosterone and plasma AT-II levels were frequently observed.
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View details for PubMedID 11755289