Longitudinal Analysis of Quality of Life, Clinical, Radiographic, Echocardiographic, and Laboratory Variables in Dogs with Preclinical Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease Receiving Pimobendan or Placebo: The EPIC Study.
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BACKGROUND: Changes in clinical variables associated with the administration of pimobendan to dogs with preclinical myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) and cardiomegaly have not been described. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the effect of pimobendan on clinical variables and the relationship between a change in heart size and the time to congestive heart failure (CHF) or cardiac-related death (CRD) in dogs with MMVD and cardiomegaly. To determine whether pimobendan-treated dogs differ from dogs receiving placebo at onset of CHF. ANIMALS: Three hundred and fifty-four dogs with MMVD and cardiomegaly. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Prospective, blinded study with dogs randomized (ratio 1:1) to pimobendan (0.4-0.6mg/kg/d) or placebo. Clinical, laboratory, and heart-size variables in both groups were measured and compared at different time points (day 35 and onset of CHF) and over the study duration. Relationships between short-term changes in echocardiographic variables and time to CHF or CRD were explored. RESULTS: At day 35, heart size had reduced in the pimobendan group: median change in () LVIDDN -0.06 (IQR: -0.15 to +0.02), P<0.0001, and LA:Ao -0.08 (IQR: -0.23 to +0.03), P<0.0001. Reduction in heart size was associated with increased time to CHF or CRD. Hazard ratio for a 0.1 increase in LVIDDN was 1.26, P=0.0003. Hazard ratio for a 0.1 increase in LA:Ao was 1.14, P=0.0002. At onset of CHF, groups were similar. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Pimobendan treatment reduces heart size. Reduced heart size is associated with improved outcome. At the onset of CHF, dogs treated with pimobendan were indistinguishable from those receiving placebo.