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March 1989

Renal Hemodynamic Consequences of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibition in Congestive Heart Failure

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Methodist Hospital, Houston.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(3):669-673. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390030125024

• Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are of benefit in the management of heart failure. In some studies in patients with heart failure, a decline in renal function occurred more frequently in patients treated with enalapril maleate, a longer-acting agent, than in those treated with captopril, a shorter-acting drug. Patients experiencing a decline in renal function had a number of predisposing hormonal and hemodynamic factors. In one report, these factors included an initial fall in blood pressure that was sustained, lower cardiac output, and a relatively high fixed dose of enalapril that contributed to renal impairment. In a second study, the decline in renal function was most severe in patients with a lower systemic arterial pressure in whom glomerular filtration may have been dependent on angiotensin II. In a third study, intravascular volume depletion and an activated renin-angiotensin system led to reduced renal function. Reduction of angiotensin II level in plasma and tissues by ACE inhibitors decreases systemic vascular resistance and efferent arteriolar tone, which tends to decrease glomerular filtration rate. If compensatory increases in cardiac output are inadequate or preexisting renal impairment or volume depletion is present, renal function will deteriorate. Long-acting ACE inhibitors prolong the decreased efferent arteriolar tone and may compromise cardiac muscle response to catecholamines. The use of shorter-acting agents in patients who exhibit deterioration in renal function may be preferable.

(Arch Intern Med 1989;149:669-673)

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