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Initiation, Continuation, or Withdrawal of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/Angiotensin Receptor Blockers and Outcomes in Patients Hospitalized With Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction.

  • Author(s): Gilstrap, Lauren G
  • Fonarow, Gregg C
  • Desai, Akshay S
  • Liang, Li
  • Matsouaka, Roland
  • DeVore, Adam D
  • Smith, Eric E
  • Heidenreich, Paul
  • Hernandez, Adrian F
  • Yancy, Clyde W
  • Bhatt, Deepak L
  • et al.


Guidelines recommend continuation or initiation of guideline-directed medical therapy, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin II receptor blockers (ACEi/ARB), in hospitalized patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

Methods and results

Using the Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure Registry, we linked clinical data from 16 052 heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (ejection fraction ≤40%) patients with Medicare claims data. We divided ACEi/ARB-eligible patients into 4 categories based on admission and discharge ACEi/ARB use: continued (reference group), started, discontinued, or not started on therapy. A multivariable Cox proportional hazard model was used to determine the association between ACEi/ARB category and outcomes. Most, 90.5%, were discharged on ACEi/ARB (59.6% continued and 30.9% newly started). Of those discharged without ACEi/ARB, 1.9% were discontinued, and 7.5% were eligible but not started. Thirty-day mortality was 3.5% for patients continued and 4.1% for patients started on ACEi/ARB. In contrast, 30-day mortality was 8.8% for patients discontinued (adjusted hazard ratio [HRadj] 1.92; 95% CI 1.32-2.81; P<0.001) and 7.5% for patients not started (HRadj 1.50; 95% CI 1.12-2.00; P=0.006). The 30-day readmission rate was lowest among patients continued or started on therapy. One-year mortality was 28.2% for patients continued and 29.7% for patients started on ACEi/ARB compared to 41.6% for patients discontinued (HRadj 1.35; 95% CI 1.13-1.61; P<0.001) and 41.7% (HRadj 1.28; 95% CI 1.14-1.43; P<0.001) for patients not started on therapy.


Compared with continuation, withdrawal of ACEi/ARB during heart failure hospitalization is associated with higher rates of postdischarge mortality and readmission, even after adjustment for severity of illness.

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