Clinical features and contemporary management of patients with low and preserved ejection fraction heart failure: baseline characteristics of patients in the Candesartan in Heart failure-Assessment of Reduction in Mortality and morbidity (CHARM) programme
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AIMS: To describe the clinical characteristics and contemporary treatment of a broad spectrum of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) randomised in the Candesartan in Heart failure-Assessment of Reduction in Mortality and morbidity (CHARM) programme, consisting of three component studies comparing placebo to candesartan. METHODS AND RESULTS: CHARM Alternative, CHARM Added and CHARM Preserved enrolled 2028 low left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ACE inhibitor intolerant patients, 2548 low LVEF ACE inhibitor treated patients and 3025 preserved LVEF patients, respectively. Patients in CHARM Preserved were more often female. The proportion of women in CHARM Preserved was 40% compared to 32% in CHARM Alternative and 21% in CHARM Added. Patients in CHARM Preserved were also more often hypertensive than in the other two trials (64% vs. 50% and 48%, respectively). Symptoms and signs (with the exception of a third heart sound) were similar in all three patient groups. Beta-blockers were used in over half of patients in all three groups. Digoxin and spironolactone were used less frequently and calcium antagonists more frequently in CHARM Preserved. Spironolactone was used most frequently in CHARM Alternative, i.e. in ACE inhibitor intolerant patients. CONCLUSIONS: The CHARM Programme provides the largest and most detailed comparison to date of patients low- and preserved-LVEF CHF. It also describes the causes of ACE-inhibitor intolerance in a large cohort of patients and the other treatment which these patients receive.
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