Levosimendan is a calcium sensitizer and opens adenosine triphosphate-dependent potassium channels. Since 20 years, it is approved for acute decompensated heart failure. It has been tested in many clinical trials for treatment of at-risk patients in cardiac surgery, right ventricular failure, pulmonary hypertension, weaning of extracorporeal systems, cardiogenic shock, septic shock, ARDS and others.Levosimendan has diverse positive effects next to positive inotropy. It improves ventriculoarterial coupling, increases peripheral perfusion, increases kidney glomerular filtration rate, coronary blood flow and it reduces preload and afterload as well as pulmonary capillary wedge pressure.Due to the opening of potassium channels, it also acts on mitochondria resulting in organ protection. Levosimendan acts anti-apoptotic. These positive effects were described in many small studies. Although this sounds like a promising drug for a variety of settings, results of several multicentre randomized placebo-controlled studies were frustrating. This review resumes some facts of levosimendan in different diseases.Thieme. All rights reserved.
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