Heart failure is a public health problem and a great economic burden for patients and healthcare systems. Suppression of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitors remains the mainstay of treatment for heart failure. However, the abundance of ACE inhibitors makes it difficult for doctors to choose.
We performed this network meta-analysis of ACEIs in patients with heart failure in order to address this area of uncertainty.
We searched PubMed, Embase, CENTRAL, and Medline.
Any randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of captopril, enalapril, lisinopril, ramipril, or trandolapril or combined interventions of 2 or more of these drugs.
Two reviewers extracted the data and made the quality assessment. At first, we used Stata software (version 12.0, StataCorp, College Station, TX) to make traditional pairwise meta-analyses for studies that directly compared different interventions. Then, network meta-analysis was performed using WinBUGS (version 1.4.3, MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge, UK).
A total of 29 studies were included. Lisinopril was associated with a higher rate of all-cause mortality compared with placebo (odds ratio 65.9, 95% credible interval 1.91 to 239.6) or ramipril (14.65, 1.23 to 49.5). Enalapril significantly reduced systolic blood pressure when compared with placebo (standardized mean differences −0.6, 95% credible interval −1.03 to −0.18). Both captopril (odds ratio 76.2, 95% credible interval 1.56 to 149.3) and enalapril (274.4, 2.4 to 512.9) were associated with a higher incidence of cough compared to placebo.
Some important outcomes such as rehospitalization and cardiac death were not included. The sample size and the number of studies were limited, especially for ramipril.
Our results suggest that enalapril might be the best option when considering factors such as increased ejection fraction, stroke volume, and decreased mean arterial pressure. However, enalapril was associated with the highest incidence of cough, gastrointestinal discomfort, and greater deterioration in renal function. Trandolapril ranked first in reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Ramipril was associated with the lowest incidence of all-cause mortality. Lisinopril was the least effective in lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure and was associated with the highest incidence of all-cause mortality.