Efficacy of pimobendan in the prevention of congestive heart failure or sudden death in Doberman Pinschers with preclinical dilated cardiomyopathy (the PROTECT Study).
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BACKGROUND: The benefit of pimobendan in delaying the progression of preclinical dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Dobermans is not reported. HYPOTHESIS: That chronic oral administration of pimobendan to Dobermans with preclinical DCM will delay the onset of CHF or sudden death and improve survival. ANIMALS: Seventy-six client-owned Dobermans recruited at 10 centers in the UK and North America. METHODS: The trial was a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel group multicenter study. Dogs were allocated in a 1:1 ratio to receive pimobendan (Vetmedin capsules) or visually identical placebo. The composite primary endpoint was prospectively defined as either onset of CHF or sudden death. Time to death from all causes was a secondary endpoint. RESULTS: The proportion of dogs reaching the primary endpoint was not significantly different between groups (P = .1). The median time to the primary endpoint (onset of CHF or sudden death) was significantly longer in the pimobendan (718 days, IQR 441-1152 days) versus the placebo group (441 days, IQR 151-641 days) (log-rank P = 0.0088). The median survival time was significantly longer in the pimobendan (623 days, IQR 491-1531 days) versus the placebo group (466 days, IQR 236-710 days) (log-rank P = .034). CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: The administration of pimobendan to Dobermans with preclinical DCM prolongs the time to the onset of clinical signs and extends survival. Treatment of dogs in the preclinical phase of this common cardiovascular disorder with pimobendan can lead to improved outcome.