• Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors have had a significant impact on the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF). Hemodynamic and clinical improvements in patients with severe CHF fostered the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in mild to moderate CHF. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors produce acute and sustained improvements in ventricular hemodynamics and quality of life. Captopril plus diuretic therapy is an effective alternative to digoxin in patients with mild to moderate CHF. Enalapril meleate and lisinopril have been shown to be effective in moderate to severe CHF when combined with digoxin and diuretics. Captopril and enalapril also improve survival in selected patients; captopril attenuates left ventricular dilatation after myocardial infarction. Although all angiotensinconverting enzyme inhibitors are similar in mechanism of action, pharmacokinetic differences impact their clinical use. Prolonged symptomatic hypotension compromising systemic perfusion and organ function has been reported with longer-acting agents; hypotension is usually short-lived and rarely compromises organ function with shorter-acting agents.
(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:1798-1805)