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A review of levosimendan in the treatment of heart failure

Authors Hulya Akhan Kasikcioglu, Nese Cam

Published 15 December 2006 Volume 2006:2(4) Pages 389—400

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Hulya Akhan Kasikcioglu, Nese Cam

Siyami Ersek Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Center, Istanbul, Turkey

Abstract: Heart failure is a relatively important public health problem due to its increasing incidence, poor prognosis, and frequent need of re-hospitalization. Intravenous positive inotropic agents play an important role in treating acute decompensation of patients with heart failure due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Although frequently used, the inotropic agents β-adrenergic agonists and phosphodiesterase inhibitors seem effective for improving symptoms in the short term; it has been shown that they increase morbidity and mortality by elevating intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and calcium levels. Levosimendan is a new positive inotropic agent having ATP-dependent potassium-channel opening and calcium-sensitizing effects. In studies on its effects without increasing intracellular calcium concentrations and on its effects that depend on available intracellular calcium levels, it has been shown to have favorable characteristics different from those of current inotropic agents, which exert their effects by increasing calcium concentrations. This study aims to review other important studies about levosimendan by revealing the underlying mechanisms of its activity, efficiency, and safety.

Keywords: heart failure, positive inotropic therapy, levosimendan

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