Angiotensin II receptor activation may result in angiogenesis, and ultimately arteriovenous malformations (AVM), through transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and angiopoietin-2 pathway activation.


The goal of this study was to determine whether angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) were associated with lower risk of major gastrointestinal bleeds (GIB) and AVM-related GIBs in continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (CF-LVAD) patients.


The authors reviewed HeartMate II CF-LVAD recipients between January 2009 and July 2016. Major GIBs were endoscopically confirmed requiring ≥2 U of packed red blood cells or resulting in death. ACE inhibitor/ARB dose was abstracted from medical records. ACE inhibitor/ARB exposure status was landmarked at 30 days post-operatively to avoid immortal time bias. Fine and Gray hazard models assessed the impact of ACE inhibitor/ARB therapy on major GIB and AVM-related GIB, whereas standard Cox regression assessed the impact on mortality, adjusting for baseline variables.


One-hundred and eleven patients were included with a mean 2.1 ± 1.4 years follow-up. Patients who received an ACE inhibitor/ARB within 30 days post-operatively had a 57% reduction in the risk of major GIB (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]: 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.19 to 0.97; p = 0.042) and a 63% reduction in the risk of AVM-related GIB (aHR: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.16 to 0.84; p = 0.017). When the mean daily post-operative lisinopril-equivalent ACE inhibitor/ARB dose was >5 mg, the risk of major GIB decreased in a dose-threshold manner (aHR: 0.28; 95% CI: 0.09 to 0.85; p = 0.025).


ACE inhibitor/ARB therapy is associated with a protective effect of developing GIBs in CF-LVAD patients, with a dose threshold of >5 mg of daily lisinopril equivalence, possibly due to prevention of AVM formation.

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