Evidence for activation of immune system in heart failure: Is there a role for anti-inflammatory therapy?
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The efficacy of already established heart failure therapeutics limits new developments; however, there are still fertile grounds for growth with a better understanding of often overlooked mechanisms of disease. We will review evidence on inflammation and components of the inflammatory process occurring in patients with chronic heart failure, review different therapeutic techniques such as intravenous immunoglobin, plasmapheresis and immuno-adsorption. RECENT FINDINGS: The use of highly specific anti-inflammatory therapeutic strategies in large randomized trials such as anti-TNF-¿ has failed to show clinical benefits; however, by taking a broad spectrum anti-inflammatory approach, strategies as in the ACCLAIM trial have been effective in improving the outcome in a select group of patients. SUMMARY: There is substantial evidence of immune modulation promoting the downregulation of inflammatory cytokines thus increasing several important and potentially therapeutic anti-inflammatory cytokines. It will be necessary to design large multicenter trials to overcome the expected improvements of current therapies, which may overshadow results, and to finally elucidate the therapeutic contributions of immune modulation in heart failure. © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.