What is the role of calcium sensitizers in the treatment of cardiogenic pulmonary edema (CPE)?

Updated: Jul 23, 2020
  • Author: Ali A Sovari, MD, FACP, FACC; Chief Editor: Gyanendra K Sharma, MD, FACC, FASE  more...
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Levosimendan is a calcium sensitizer that is used in several European countries to manage moderate to severe heart failure. It has inotropic, metabolic, and vasodilatory effects. Levosimendan increases contractility by binding to troponin C. It does not increase myocardial oxygen demand, and it is not a proarrhythmogenic agent. [28, 29, 30]

Levosimendan opens potassium channels sensitive to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), causing peripheral arterial and venous dilatation. It also increases coronary flow reserve. Moreover, studies have shown levosimendan to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Overall, levosimendan has been an effective and safe alternative to dobutamine. The most common adverse effects of levosimendan treatment are hypotension and headache. A randomized clinical study—the Survival of Patients With Acute Heart Failure in Need of Intravenous Inotropic Support (SURVIVE) trial—demonstrated no mortality benefit from levosimendan in comparison with dobutamine in patients with acute decompensated CHF. [31]

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