Efficacy and safety of levosimendan in patients with acute right heart failure: A meta-analysis

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Right heart failure (RHF), which is caused by a variety of heart and lung diseases, has a high morbidity and mortality rate. Levosimendan is a cardiac inotropic drug and vasodilator. The effect of levosimendan on RHF remains unclear. We sought to evaluate the efficacy and safety of levosimendan in patients with acute RHF.

Materials and methods

We systematically searched PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and ClinicalTrials.gov to identify studies reporting the efficacy and safety of levosimendan for the treatment of RHF.

Key findings

Ten trials, including 359 participants from 6 RCTs and 4 self-controlled trials, were evaluated. In the 6 RCTs, we found that patients treated with levosimendan for 24 h showed a significant increase in tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion [1.53; 95% CI (0.54, 2.53); P = 0.002] and ejection fraction [3.59; 95% CI (1.21, 5.98); P = 0.003] as well as a significant reduction in systolic pulmonary artery pressure [−6.15; 95% CI (−9.29, −3.02); P = 0.0001] and pulmonary vascular resistance [−39.48; 95% CI (−65.59, −13.38); P = 0.003], whereas changes in mean pulmonary pressure were nonsignificant. Adverse events did not significantly differ between the two groups.


Our study shows that levosimendan exhibits short-term efficacy for treating RHF in patients with a variety of heart and lung diseases. Additional strict multicentre RCTs with long follow-up times and large sample sizes are required to further validate the efficacy and safety of this treatment.

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