Levosimendan is a calcium-sensitizing agent that improves cardiac function, hemodynamic performance,
and survival in critically ill adult patient. Few data exist on its off-label use in paediatric patients. We therefore performed
a systematic review updated in September 2013 of all the published articles describing the use of levosimendan
in paediatric patients. We identified 24 studies published in the period 2004-2013 that included a total of 623 patients,
the largest one being a case series of 293 patients. Most of the patients underwent cardiac surgery, other settings consisting
of chronic heart failure, primary congenital heart diseases and sepsis and cancer-associated cardiac dysfunction.
Most studies reported improvement in ventricular function, central venous oxygen saturation, serum lactate levels or
cardiac index. The 5 randomized studies published so far have all been performed in cardiac surgery and suggest a
beneficial effect on hemodynamic data with no effect on intensive care unit stay, hospital stay or survival. Side effects
(e.g. hypotension) were reported. This inodilator merits to be investigated with further randomized trials focusing on
clinically relevant outcomes.
Keywords: Cardiac surgery, chronic heart failure, congenital heart diseases, hemodynamic effect, levosimendan, paediatric
patients, systematic review.
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