The question of heart failure in ONTARGET and TRANSCEND: implications for clinical practice

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In patients with arterial hypertension and/or high cardiovascular risk, including patients with diabetes, chronic ischemic heart disease and kidney disease, the risk of heart failure decreases with blood pressure reduction and the use of drugs that inhibit the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) [angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)]. The heart failure incidence seen in ONgoing Telmisartan Alone and in combination with Ramipril Global Endpoint Trial (ONTARGET) and Telmisartan Randomised AssessmeNt Study in ACE iNtolerant subjects with cardiovascular Disease (TRANSCEND) is in line with this observation. In ONTARGET, telmisartan and ramipril were equally effective in heart failure prevention and with the same blood pressure reduction. The low event rate, including the low incidence of heart failure in TRANSCEND with the greater use of diuretics in the placebo arm, may help to explain the absence of significant differences between telmisartan and placebo.

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