Heart rate is a fundamental determinant of cardiac oxygen consumption and plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of chronic stable angina (CSA). Ivabradine selectively and specifically inhibits the sino-atrial If current, slowing selectively heart rate without other significant haemodynamic effects. The consequent clinical effects are a sinus rate reduction similar to that obtained with beta-blockers, but without the related haemodynamic side effects.
Ivabradine clinical benefits have been demonstrated both in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) with associated systolic left ventricular dysfunction or in patients with congestive heart failure (HF). In this review we focused on the pharmacology and clinical research about ivabradine in the context of anti-ischemic therapy for CAD patients. Actually most guidelines suggest ivabradine therapy as last resort antianginal drugs in patients with uncontrolled symptoms or excessive heart rate despite maximum tolerated beta-blockade. However, the peculiar pharmacologic effects of the drug suggest that most patients with CAD might benefit from adding ivabradine to their therapeutic schemata. In fact, even if the recently released main analysis of the SIGNIFY study seems not to support an employ of ivabradine in primary prevention, it is easy to imagine a future wider use of this drug in elderly patients with incomplete myocardial revascularization and in patients with total chronic coronary occlusions and failure or unacceptable risk for percutaneous or surgical coronary revascularization.
Keywords: Angina pectoris, coronary artery disease, ivabradine, left ventricular ejection fraction, percutaneous coronary intervention.
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