Levosimendan in Critical Illness: A Literature Review

Journal of Clinical Medicine Research 04/2014; 6(2):75-85. DOI: 10.14740/jocmr1702w
Source: PubMed


Levosimendan, the active enantiomer of simendan, is a calcium sensitizer developed for treatment of decompensated heart failure, exerts its effects independently of the beta adrenergic receptor and seems beneficial in cases of severe, intractable heart failure. Levosimendan is usually administered as 24-h infusion, with or without a loading dose, but dosing needs adjustment in patients with severe liver or renal dysfunction. Despite several promising reports, the role of levosimendan in critical illness has not been thoroughly evaluated. Available evidence suggests that levosimendan is a safe treatment option in critically ill patients and may reduce mortality from cardiac failure. However, data from well-designed randomized controlled trials in critically ill patients are needed to validate or refute these preliminary conclusions. This literature review is an attempt to synthesize available evidence on the role and possible benefits of levosimendan in critically ill patients with severe heart failure.

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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of levosimendan on mortality in cardiogenic shock (CS) after ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Data were obtained prospectively from the SCAAR (Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Register) and the RIKS-HIA (Register of Information and Knowledge about Swedish Heart Intensive Care Admissions) about 94 consecutive patients with CS due to STEMI. Patients were classified into levosimendan-mandatory and levosimendan-contraindicated cohorts. Inotropic support with levosimendan was mandatory in all patients between January 2004 and December 2005 (n = 46). After the SURVIVE and REVIVE II studies were presented, levosimendan was considered contraindicated and was not used in consecutive patients between December 2005 and December 2006 (n = 48). The cohorts were similar with respect to pre-treatment characteristics and concomitant medications. There was no difference in the incidence of new-onset atrial fibrillation, in-hospital cardiac arrest and length of stay at the coronary care unit. There was no difference in adjusted mortality at 30 days and at one year. The use of levosimendan neither improves nor worsens mortality in patients with CS due to STEMI. Well-designed randomized clinical trials are needed to define the role of inotropic therapy in the treatment of CS.
    Vascular Health and Risk Management 09/2010; 6:657-63.
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to investigate microcirculatory blood flow in patients with septic shock treated with levosimendan as compared to an active comparator drug (i.e. dobutamine). The primary end point was a difference of ≥ 20% in the microvascular flow index of small vessels (MFIs) among groups. The study was designed as a prospective, randomized, double-blind clinical trial and performed in a multidisciplinary intensive care unit. After achieving normovolemia and a mean arterial pressure of at least 65 mmHg, 40 septic shock patients were randomized to receive either levosimendan 0.2 μg·kg(-1)·min(-1) (n = 20) or an active comparator (dobutamine 5 μg·kg(-1)·min(-1); control; n = 20) for 24 hours. Sublingual microcirculatory blood flow of small and medium vessels was assessed by sidestream dark-field imaging. Microcirculatory variables and data from right heart catheterization were obtained at baseline and 24 hours after randomization. Baseline and demographic data were compared by means of Mann-Whitney rank sum test or chi-square test, as appropriate. Microvascular and hemodynamic variables were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney rank sum test. Microcirculatory flow indices of small and medium vessels increased over time and were significantly higher in the levosimendan group as compared to the control group (24 hrs: MFIm 3.0 (3.0; 3.0) vs. 2.9 (2.8; 3.0); P = .02; MFIs 2.9 (2.9; 3.0) vs. 2.7 (2.3; 2.8); P < .001). The relative increase of perfused vessel density vs. baseline was significantly higher in the levosimendan group than in the control group (dMFIm 10 (3; 23)% vs. 0 (-1; 9)%; P = .007; dMFIs 47 (26; 83)% vs. 10 (-3; 27); P < .001). In addition, the heterogeneity index decreased only in the levosimendan group (dHI -93 (-100; -84)% vs. 0 (-78; 57)%; P < .001). There was no statistically significant correlation between systemic and microcirculatory flow variables within each group (each P > .05). Compared to a standard dose of 5 μg·kg(-1)·min(-1) of dobutamine, levosimendan at 0.2 μg·kg(-1)·min(-1) improved sublingual microcirculatory blood flow in patients with septic shock, as reflected by changes in microcirculatory flow indices of small and medium vessels. NCT00800306.
    Critical care (London, England) 12/2010; 14(6):R232. DOI:10.1186/cc9387 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Levosimendan is an inotropic drug with unique pharmacological advantages in patients with acute heart failure. Scope of this study is to determine whether longer infusion patterns without the hypotension-inducing loading dose could justify an effective and safe alternative approach. Methods. 70 patients admitted to the emergencies with decompensated chronic heart failure received intravenously levosimendan without a loading dose up to 72 hours. Clinical parameters, BNP (Brain Natriuretic Peptide) and signal-averaged-ECG data (SAECG) were recorded up to 72 hours. Results. The 48-hour group demonstrated a statistically significant BNP decrease (P < .001) after 48 hours, which also maintained after 72 hours. The 72-hour group demonstrated a bordeline decrease of BNP after 48 hours (P = .039), necessitating an additional 24-hour infusion to achieve significant reduction after 72 hours (P < .004). SAECG data demonstrated a statistically significant decrease after 72 hours (P < .04). Apart from two deaths due to advanced heart failure, no major complications were observed. Conclusion. Prolonged infusion of levosimendan without a loading dose is associated with an acceptable clinical and neurohumoral response.
    Cardiology Research and Practice 03/2011; 2011(1):342302. DOI:10.4061/2011/342302
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