This study aimed to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of carvedilol for pediatric patients with chronic heart failure caused by dilated cardiomyopathy. Seven pediatric medical centers participated in this prospective study. Pediatric patients (n = 89) were randomly divided into an experimental group (carvedilol treatment) and a control group (conventional treatment). The analysis excluded 12 patients lost during the follow-up period. Carvedilol was added to the therapy of the experimental group after at least 1 month of basic treatment with digoxin, an angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor, and diuretics. The control patients received the same basic treatment but did not receive carvedilol. The initial dose of carvedilol was 0.1 (mg/kg day), and the dose was doubled every 2 weeks until the maximum tolerated dose or 0.8 (mg/kg day) was achieved. The tolerated dose was maintained for 6 months. The Ross scales and echocardiographic parameters including left ventricular diastolic diameter, left ventricular systolic diameter, left ventricular ejection fraction, left ventricular fractional shortening, and serous brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentration, as well as clinical progress were compared between the two groups. The Ross scales decreased by 11.94 % in the experimental group, which was more than in the control group (2.81 %). In addition, changes to other echocardiographic parameters in the experimental group also were superior to those in the control group. The serous BNP concentration in the experimental group decreased by 30.1 %, which also was more than the decrease (22.2 %) observed in the control group. Clinical improvement was demonstrated by 40 %, no change by 35 %, and clinical deterioration by 25 % of the patients in the experimental group, and by respectively 37.8, 27, and 35.2 % of the patients in the control group. These differences were not statistically significant. Only one patient demonstrated a severe adverse event, severe pulmonary infection, and complete atrioventricular block. None of the other carvedilol-treated patients experienced drug-related side effects. Carvedilol can be safely used for treatment of chronic heart dysfunction in pediatric patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. The results in this study showed an apparent improvement in the cardiac function of these patients. Additional clinical studies are required to determine the most favorable dosing levels and regimens of carvedilol before its safety and efficacy for the pediatric population can be determined conclusively.
Pediatr Cardiol. 2013 Mar;34(3):680-5.