• Cardiovascular;
  • Echocardiography;
  • Heart failure;
  • Hemodynamics

Background: Pimobendan is a positive inotrope and vasodilator that may be useful in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension (PHT) secondary to degenerative mitral valve disease.

Hypothesis: Pimobendan decreases the severity of PHT measured echocardiographically and improves quality-of-life scores. Changes in N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentrations will reflect improvement in severity of PHT.

Animals: Ten client-owned dogs with peak tricuspid regurgitant flow velocity (TRFV) ≥3.5 m/s.

Methods: Prospective short-term, double-blinded, crossover design, with a long-term, open-label component. Short term, dogs were randomly allocated to receive either placebo or pimobendan (0.18–0.3 mg/kg PO q12 h) for 14 days. After a 1-week washout, they received the alternative treatment for 14 days, followed by pimobendan open-label for 8 weeks.

Results: Short-term comparison: peak TRFV decreased in all dogs on pimobendan compared with placebo from a median of 4.40 (range, 3.2–5.6) to 3.75 (range, 2.4–4.8) m/s (P < .0001). NT-proBNP concentration decreased after treatment with pimobendan from a median of 2,143 (range, 450–3,981) to 1,329 (range, 123–2,411) pmol/L (P= .0009). All dogs improved their quality-of-life score (P= .006). In the long-term comparisons, peak TRFV decreased in all dogs from a median of 4.28 (range, 3.5–5.7) to 3.52 (range, 2.4–5.0) m/s (P < .0001). No significant changes in NT-proBNP or quality-of-life scores were detected.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Pimobendan lowered severity of measurable PHT, improved quality-of-life scores, and decreased NT-proBNP concentrations short-term. Long term, only the reduction in TRFV was maintained.