Evaluation by N-terminal Prohormone of Brain Natriuretic Peptide Concentrations and Ross Scoring of the Efficacy of Digoxin in the Treatment of Heart Failure Secondary to Congenital Heart Disease With Left-to-Right Shunts
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This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of digoxin in children with heart failure secondary to left-to-right shunt lesions and normal left ventricular systolic function. The study registered 37 such patients (ages 10 days to 24 months, groups 1 and 2) and used 20 healthy children as a control group (group 3). Left ventricular systolic function, as assessed by conventional echocardiography, was normal in all the subjects. Congestive heart failure was diagnosed by clinical evaluation and modified Ross scoring. Plasma N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentrations and complete blood counts were assessed in all the children. Group 1 was treated with digoxin, enalapril, and furosemide and group 2 with enalapril and furosemide. Approximately 1 month after starting treatment, the patients were reevaluated by physical and echocardiographic examinations, modified Ross scoring, plasma NT-proBNP concentrations, and complete blood counts. The pre- and posttreatment Ross scores of group 1 (p = 0.377) and group 2 (p = 0.616) did not differ significantly. The NT-proBNP values in both groups decreased after treatment (p = 0.0001). The pre- and posttreatment NT-proBNP values did not differ significantly in group 1 (p = 0.094)) and group 2 (p = 0.372). The pretreatment NT-proBNP values in groups 1 and 2 (p = 0.0001) were significantly higher than in the control group (p = 0.003). A smaller difference was observed between posttreatment NT-proBNP values in group 1 and the control group (p = 0.045). We found no significant difference between the posttreatment NT-proBNP values of group 2 and those of the control group (p = 0.271). The study showed that both treatments currently used to treat heart failure secondary to congenital heart disease with left-to-right shunts and preserved left ventricular systolic function are effective and do not differ significantly. Thus, digoxin does not provide any extra benefit in the treatment of such patients.