During the last years an increasing number of patients with high perioperative risk and decreased left ventricular function are
referred to cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. In this subgroup of patients, heart failure is the major cause of perioperative morbidity and
mortality. In order to prevent and treat this type of complications several therapeutic attempts have been tried involving intra aortic balloon
pump and inotropic agents infusion (such as beta-adrenergic agonists and phosphodiesterase inhibitors)
Levosimendan is new inotropic agent; it is a calcium-sensitising inotropic agent and a vasodilator used in the treatment of heart failure. In
the last ten years several reports have been published on levosimendan. The inotropic efficacy of levosimendan is dose-dependent and
equal or even superior to any of the other commercially available inotropic agents.
The aim of the present review is to describe experimental and clinical effects of perioperative treatment with levosimendan.