Background: A restrictive pattern of left ventricular filling is often present in patients with severe heart failure. Although the hemodynamic effects of levosimendan have been studied, the effects of levosimendan on LV filling pattern have not been investigated.
Methods: Pulsed-wave Doppler mitral (transthoracic) and pulmonary venous flow (transesophageal) velocity curves were recorded in 30 patients with a restrictive pattern of left ventricular filling with New York Heart Association class III or IV heart failure who had a documented left ventricular ejection fraction < 30% by echocardiography and received a 0.1 μg/kg/min infusion of levosimendan for 24 h.
Results: Levosimendan caused significant (p < 0.001) increases in stroke volume (from 46 ± 4 to 57 ± 4 mL) and decreases in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (from 21 ± 1 to 15 ± 1 mm Hg). The E wave decreased (from 96 ± 7 to 71 ± 5 cm/s), and the A wave increased (from 40 ± 4 to 46 ± 4 cm/s). Moreover, deceleration time was increased (from 112 ± 7 to 189 ± 14 ms). The S wave of pulmonary venous flow was increased (from 38 ± 3 to 60 ± 3 cm/s), and atrial reversal was decreased (from 36 ± 2 to 29 ± 2 cm/s). All changes were significant (p < 0.001). Using stepwise linear regression analysis, we found that the percentage changes of the early/late transmitral diastolic peak flow velocity (E/A) ratio and the percentage changes of the isovolumetric relaxation time were independent predictors of the increase in cardiac output. Furthermore, the percentage changes of the systolic/diastolic ratio and the percentage changes of the E/A ratio were independent predictors of the decrease in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure.
Conclusions: Treatment with levosimendan improved measures of left ventricular diastolic function. Consequently, left ventricular stroke volume was increased.