ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors and PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors have each been reported to improve endothelial function in cardiovascular disease patients, but the comparative and combined effects of these two classes have not been studied previously. We sought to characterize the acute effects of ramipril alone, sildenafil alone, or their combination on endothelial function in patients with CHF (chronic heart failure). CHF subjects (n=64) were randomized to receive placebo, 10 mg of ramipril alone, 50 mg of sildenafil alone or a combination of ramipril and sildenafil in a double-blind manner. FMD (flow-mediated dilation) of the brachial artery was determined by high-resolution ultrasound imaging before and at 1, 2 and 4 h after administration of the study drug. Ramipril alone increased FMD at 4 h compared with placebo (+2.3±1.3%, P=0.02). Sildenafil alone increased FMD at 1, 2 and 4 h compared with placebo (+3.9±1.4, +4.6±1.8 and +3.7±1.3% respectively, all P<0.02). Sildenafil in combination with ramipril increased FMD at 1, 2 and 4 h when compared with placebo (+3.5±1.5, +4.5±1.8 and +4.8±1.3% respectively, all P<0.03). Ramipril and sildenafil both acutely improved FMD in patients with CHF, with additive effects evident at 4 h during combination therapy. Therefore further work to characterize chronic effects of combined ACE and PDE5 inhibition on endothelial function are warranted.

You do not currently have access to this content.