Effects of dichloroacetate in patients with congestive heart failure

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical Cardiology








Dichloroacetate; Echocardiography; Heart failure


Background: Conventional approaches to management of congestive heart failure (CHF) rely on drugs that increase myocardial contractility or reduce ventricular afterload. These approaches often improve cardiac symptoms and survival, but may be associated with significant deleterious effects. An alternative approach is to enhance myocardial energy production. Dichloroacetate (DCA) stimulates pyruvate dehydrogenase activity and accelerates aerobic glucose, pyruvate, and lactate metabolism in myocardial cells. These alterations would be expected to improve myocardial function. Hypothesis: The purpose of the investigation was to assess the efficacy of DCA in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and to examine the mechanism by which improvement occurs. Methods: A total of 25 patients (16 men, 9 women; age range 31-72 years, mean 59) with CHF and ejection fraction ≤40% received an intravenous infusion of 50 mg/kg DCA over 15 min. Indices of systolic and diastolic function were obtained by two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography performed at baseline, 30 min, and 60 min following completion of DCA infusion. Results: Baseline ventricular ejection fraction was 27.3 ± 9.1%; 17 patients (68%) had nonischemic cardiomyopathy. Heart rate increased after DCA infusion from 73.9 ± 14.5 to 79.2 ± 14.9 beats/min at 60 min; p = 0.02. Left ventricular diastolic and systolic volumes increased at 30 min compared with baseline (248.7 ± 98.1 vs. 259.6 ± 99.6; p = 0.04, and 180.1 ± 80.4 vs. 192.2 ± 84.9; p = 0.002, respectively), but stroke volume (49.2 ± 19.1 vs. 48.9 ± 18.1; p = 0.9) and ejection fraction (27.3 ± 9.1 vs. 25.7 ± 9.8; p = 0.2) were unchanged. Indices of diastolic function were also unchanged. Conclusion: Dichloroacetate infusion in patients with CHF is not associated with improvement in noninvasively assessed left ventricular function.