The amino acid L-carnitine has been shown to reduce the risk of death in children with cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a broad term used for a number of disorders affecting the muscle of the heart. It can result in enlargement of the heart, heart failure, arrhythmias, and other problems. 76 patients with cardiomyopathy were treated with L-carnitine in addition to conventional cardiac treatment, and 145 patients were treated with conventional treatment only. The duration of L-carnitine treatment ranged from 2 weeks to >1 year. Information was collected on length of survival, clinical outcome, echocardiogram parameters, and clinical assessments.
Although L-carnitine treated patients were younger than and had poorer clinical functioning at baseline, they demonstrated lower mortality and by the end of the study, their level of clinical functioning was comparable to control patients on conventional therapy. Another important and unexpected finding of the study was that patients treated with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (40% of patients) had significantly poorer survival than those receiving other drugs.
Pediatrics 2000; 105: 1260-1270.http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/