Listed here are all the publications that featured in 2018.

Repetitive levosimendan for a LION's heart?

Altenberger J & Pölzl G. (Teaching Hospital of Paracelsus Medical Private University, Salzburg, Austria). Eur J Heart Fail 2018 (ePub May 3). EDITORIAL COMMENT.

In this article the authors comment the recently published LION-HEART study about intermittent administration of levosimendan in advanced heart failure. Both primary and secondary endpoints were positive in this trial. The authours point out that both in the LION-HEART and LevoRep studies safety and tolerability were favourable for levosimendan. In the text it is highlighted that the current study LEODOR, a prospective trial with firm clinical endpoints, is meant to confirm the encouraging results.

Prophylactic preoperative levosimendan for off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting in patients with left ventricular dysfunction: Single-centered randomized prospective study

Desai PM et al. Seth GS (Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India). Ann Card Anaesth 2018; 21:123-128. RANDOMISED CLINICAL TRIAL.

The present, open study included 60 patients. The levosimendan group received 0.1 mcg/kg/min of the drug beginning at the night before surgery (without a loading dose) and continued for 24 h including the intraoperative period. Levosimendan significantly increased cardiac index, decreased PCWP and serum lactate, as well as reduced the incidence of atrial fibrillation, low cardiac output syndrome and acute kidney injury compared to the control group. Pre- and intraoperative infusion of levosimendan, without a loading dose, aids in successful conduct of off-pump surgery in this clinical setting.

Perioperative use of levosimendan improves clinical outcomes in patients post-cardiac surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Qiang H et al. (First Affiliated Hospital of Xian Jiaotong University, Xian, Shaanxi, China). J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 2018 (ePub Apr 3). META-ANALYSIS.

In the present meta-analysis, all three recent large clinical trials were included (CHEETAH, LEVO-CTS, LICORN). The total number of patients was 3,247 from 25 studies, the meta-analysis thus being the largest in cardiac surgery. In the mortality analysis, only 19 studies were included. The results show that levosimendan reduced 30-day mortality significantly compared to the control group (OR 0.63; 95% CI 0.47-0.84), but this reduction remained evident only in the subgroup of patients with a low ejection fraction of < 50% (OR 0.49; 95% CI 0.35-0.70). Levosimendan also significantly reduced the incidence of acute kidney injury, renal replacement therapy use, and duration of ICU stay. These results are in close agreement with the meta-analysis of Tena et al (2018), which is commented in this issue of Simdax BKU.

Effect of levosimendan in patients with acute decompensated heart failure: A meta-analysis

Zhou S et al. (Second Affiliated Hospital to Nanchang University, Nanchang of Jiangxi, China). Herz 2018 (ePub Apr 10). META-ANALYSIS.

The present meta-analysis assessed some relevant hemodynamic and neurohumoral variables. The patient material included 257 patients from 7 studies, of which about half of the patients received levosimendan and the other half served as controls (dobutamine, furosemide, or no comparator). The number of patients analysed for each variable does not seem to match the reported total number of patients. Levosimendan significantly reduced BNP levels and increased left ventricular ejection fraction. The results, at least in the way they are presented in this paper, seem a little confusing. Further studies on the subject are warranted.

Update on the management of acute heart failure

Rainer-Hartley E. et al.  (St. Paul’s Hospital, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada). Curr Opin Cardiol 2018;33:225–231. REVIEW.

The authors conclude that despite multiple treatment modalities, no consistent mortality benefit has been observed in AHF. The paragraph about levosimendan is short, and only the LIDO, REVIVE and SURVIVE studies are mentioned. However, the authors recommend considering the use of levosimendan in hypotensive heart failure. However, a bolus dose should be given only in patients with a systolic blood pressure above 100 mmHg.

Haemodynamic effects of levosimendan in advanced but stable chronic heart failure

Najjar E. et al. (Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden). ESC Heart Fail 2018 (ePub Feb 22). OPEN CLINICAL TRIAL.

By this open uncontrolled trial the authors found that a single 24-hour infusion of levosimendan improved haemodynamics also in stable chronic heart failure. Cardiac output (measured with a non-invasive rebreathing method) increased, and peripheral resistance decreased. The small sample size of 23 patients and the absence of a control group limit the interpretation of the results.

Inotropic agents and vasodilator strategies for the treatment of cardiogenic shock or low cardiac output syndrome

Schuman J et al. (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018 (ePub Jan 29). SYSTEMATIC REVIEW.

The effect of inotropic or vasodilator drugs on mortality was analysed in totally 2001 patients with cardiogenic shock or low cardiac output syndrome from 13 studies. Many of the studies had serious limitations. The review presents low-quality evidence that levosimendan reduces short-term mortality significantly compared to dobutamine. However, this survival benefit is not confirmed in long-term follow-up. At present there are no robust data to support any distinct inotropic or vasodilator drug to reduce mortality in this clinical setting.

Effects of levosimendan on mortality in patients with septic shock: systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis

Wang B et al. (The second affiliated hospital and Yuying children's hospital on Wenzhou Medical University, Zhejiang, China). Oncotarget 2017; 8: 100524-100532. META-ANALYSIS.

A total of 816 patients from 10 trials with very different study designs were included in this meta-analysis. There was no significant difference in mortality between the levosimendan group and the group receiving standard inotropic therapy. The trial sequential analysis indicated that the evidence was inconclusive. Further randomised, controlled clinical trials are needed to assess the effect of levosimendan in septic shock.

Use of levosimendan in cardiac surgery: An update after the LEVO-CTS, CHEETAH, and LICORN trials in the light of clinical practice

Guarracino F et al. Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 2018;71(1):1-9 EXPERT OPINION.

Levosimendan is safe and well tolerated in patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass who have low LVEF and are at risk of the development of postoperative low cardiac output syndrome. The lack of any deterioration in survival is particularly noteworthy. Levosimendan safety and efficacy confirmed also after the latest three clinical trials.

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