Serum angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) levels may be decreased by use of ACE inhibitor (ACEI) medication. In this study, we determined how often ACE levels were measured in patients receiving ACEI therapy.METHODS:
ACE levels analyzed over a 54-month preintervention time period at an academic medical center were reviewed retrospectively for tests performed during ACEI therapy. These data were compared with a large, deidentified dataset of ACE levels measured at a national reference laboratory; in vitro studies of ACEI inhibition; and liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry detection of lisinopril in a subset of clinical specimens.RESULTS:
Over a 54-month period, 1,292 patients had ACE levels measured, with 108 patients (8.4%) receiving ACEI therapy at the time of testing. ACE levels measured for patients receiving ACEI therapy were substantially lower. In general, clinical teams did not recognize a medication effect on ACE levels. Introduction of a warning prompt in the electronic health record reduced the ordering of ACE levels in patients receiving ACEIs by > 60% in a 17-month postintervention time period. The deidentified dataset of ACE levels at a reference laboratory showed a bimodal distribution, with a peak of very low ACE levels. Using liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry, the presence of lisinopril was confirmed in a subset of specimens with low ACE activity. In vitro studies of two different ACE assays showed significant inhibition of activity at clinically relevant concentrations.CONCLUSIONS:
Assessment of ACE activity is often measured for patients receiving ACEIs, potentially leading to low ACE concentrations and inaccurate interpretations.