In 1628, Harvey first correctly described the heart as a pump. It was another 350 years before the heart was established as an endocrine gland that synthesized a family of peptide hormones that regulate blood volume and blood pressure. There are now five peptide hormones made in the heart which have been demonstrated to have beneficial effects in persons with congestive heart failure. One of these peptide hormones i.e. brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is commercially available and has been widely used in the United States for the treatment of acute congestive heart failure under the name Nesiritide/Natrecor®. Nesiritide has one serious side effect, i.e. it may worsen renal function in persons with acute decompensated cardiac failure. The best of these peptide hormones for the treatment of chronic heart failure is a cardiac hormone named vessel dilator which enhances sodium and water excretion 4- to 5-fold in persons with congestive heart failure but vessel dilators biologic effects lasts six hours compared to less than 30 minutes for BNP, without the deleterious effects of BNP on renal function. This review will focus on six cardiac hormones discovery, identification and comparison of their beneficial effects and side effects in humans with congestive heart failure.
Keywords: Cardiac hormones, congestive heart failure, treatment, natriuretic peptides, diuretics, sodium excretion
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