New Study Exposes Danger of Stopping Drug Treatment for Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

16th November 2018

A ground-breaking new study has looked at whether systems of dilated cardiomyopathy would return after the gradual withdrawal of medication. 

A randomised pilot study was conducted by a group of clinicians who form part of the cardiology and research team at The Royal Brompton Hospital in 2016 and 2017. The research (known as TRED-HF, withdrawal of pharmalogical treatment for heart failure in patients with recovered dilated cardiomyopathy) focussed on those patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) whose heart function and symptoms appeared to have returned to normal.

The purpose of the research was to ascertain if the symptoms of DCM would return after the gradual withdrawal of medication. This is believed to be the first randomised trial to explore the effects of treatment withdrawal in patients with ‘recovered dilated cardiomyopathy’. Patients had to meet a strict entry criteria, measuring the function or their heart, the presence of symptoms and other complications, in order to be included in the trial.

Findings

Of the 50% of patients in the study who had their treatment withdrawn 40% experienced a gradual decline in heart function and re-emergence of symptoms. This resulted in treatment being restarted. The clinicians were unable to predict which patients would relapse post treatment withdrawal and which would not.

Consequently, further research will be required to identify how clinicians can accurately predict who will fare well after stopping medication and who will see their health decline. As a result the TRED-HF research concluded that drug regimens prescribed for patients diagnosed with DCM should continue indefinitely.

Cardiomyopathy UK and the Alexander Jansons Fund, which joined forces with Cardiomyopathy UK in 2018, both supported the research team with this project and the charity will continue to work with them on any future developments.