The Heart Institute is a core site for the PHN study, “Marfan Trial of Randomized Beta Blocker Therapy (atenolol) vs. Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker (ARB) Therapy (losartan).”
The trial compares the effect of these two drugs on the rates of aortic growth and progression of aortic regurgitation in patients with Marfan syndrome (MFS). MFS is a disorder of connective tissue due to mutation in the Fibrillin-1 gene. Cardiovascular pathology, including aortic root dilation, dissection and rupture, is the leading cause of mortality in patients with MFS.
Studies have shown that beta-blockers reduce the rate of aortic growth, but these effects have been small. Recent animal studies demonstrated that treatment with losartan normalized aortic root growth and architecture, preventing aortic aneurysms and premature death. Preliminary data from a small pilot trial suggest a potential benefit of losartan use in humans with MFS.