Heart failure is among the most frequent complications of patients on long-term haemodialysis. The benefits of renin–angiotensin system (RAS) blockade on the outcomes of these patients have yet to be determined.Methods and results
We conducted a nationwide observational study using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance claims database, between 1999 and 2010. We enrolled patients aged ≥35 years with new-onset heart failure [diagnosed by International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, clinical modification (ICD-9-CM) codes] under treatment with medications. New users of a RAS blocker (RASB; i.e. an ACE inhibitor or an ARB used as monotherapy or dual therapy) were selected to compare with non-RASB users. We used Cox proportional hazards regression with and without propensity score adjustment to compare the risk of 3-year all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Stratified analyses and RASB therapy duration as a time-dependent covariate were also performed. In all, 4771 were treated with an RASB (n = 3024) or without an RASB (n = 1747). RASB users had a higher prevalence of hypertension and diabetes, and a higher number of hospitalization. Among RASB users, 1148 deaths (38.0%) occurred during 5272 person-years of follow-up compared with 734 deaths (42.0%) among non-RASB users during 2683 person-years of follow-up. Three-year mortality rates were 45.4% and 49.1% for patients receiving and those not receiving an RASB, respectively (log-rank test, P < 0.001). Adjusted hazard analysis revealed that RASB therapeutic effects remained significant on all-cause [hazard ratio (HR) 0.8; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72–0.89; P < 0.001] and cardiovascular mortality (HR 0.76; 95% CI 0.64–0.90; P < 0.01).Conclusions
RASB therapy reduced all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in heart failure patients on long-term haemodialysis.