The therapeutic potential of angiotensin II receptor blockers in the treatment of heart failure
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In clinical heart failure (HF) the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is an important component of neurohormonal activation. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors have been shown to be of great clinical benefit in reducing the production of angiotensin II. However, they do not fully suppress angiotensin II production in HF because there are other pathways through which angiotensin II can be produced. Theoretically, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) have great potential because of their ability to directly block angiotensin II produced through any pathway. A large body of literature has accumulated examining the effects of ARBs in HF. The earlier, smaller studies examined outcomes such as symptoms, neurohormonal concentrations and cardiac function. More recent, larger studies have examined the effects of ARBs on mortality and morbidity. This paper reviews the data defining the role of ARBs in the treatment of HF patients, focusing more on the large randomised clinical outcome trials.
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