Chronic Congestive Heart Failure

The efficacy and safety of berberine in chronic congestive heart failure was studied in a randomised, double-blind, controlled study in 1 56 patients with chronic heart failure (Zeng et al 2003). All patients received conventional treatment and 79 patients in the treatment group also received 1.2-2.0 g/day of berberine for 8 weeks. Quality of life was greatly improved in the berberine group in comparison to controls, as measured by a significant increase in left ventricular ejection fraction, less fatigue and a greater capacity to exercise. A significant reduction in mortality was also noted during the 24-month follow-up (7 in the treatment group as compared to 13).

The acute cardiovascular effects of intravenous berberine (0.02 and 0.2 mg/kg/min for 30 minutes) were studied in 12 patients with refractory congestive heart failure (Marin-Neto et al 1988). At the lower dose, a 14% reduction in heart rate was noted, whereas 0.2 mg/kg resulted in a 48% decrease in systemic vascular resistance and a 41 % decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance. Right atrium and left ventricular end-diastolic pressures were reduced by 28% and 32%, respectively. Cardiac index, stroke index, and left ventricular ejection fraction were also significantly enhanced.

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