Levosimendan and dobutamine are comparable inotropic drugs as regards their hemodynamic effects and clinical outcomes in decompensated heart failure (HF). The aim of this study was to compare the effects of levosimendan and dobutamine treatment on NT-proBNP levels in patients with decompensated HF. Forty-four patients with decompensated HF and ejection fraction <35% received either a 24-h infusion of levosimendan (n=26) or dobutamine (n=18). NT-proBNP was measured at baseline and 12 h, 24 h and 48 h after the initiation of drug infusion. NT-proBNP levels at baseline, 12 h, 24 h and 48 h were 16,879 +/- 2437, 16,004 +/- 2635, 12,881 +/- 2305 and 11,078 +/- 2092 pg/ml, respectively, in the levosimendan group and 16,031 +/- 3463, 15,908 +/- 3806, 12,271 +/- 3299 and 14,840 +/- 4009 pg/ml, respectively, in the dobutamine group. NT-proBNP decreased significantly at 24 h in response to both levosimendan and dobutamine treatment (p<0.01 and p<0.05, respectively) with no significant difference among the treatment groups. In the dobutamine group, NT-proBNP increased at 48 h (p=n.s. vs. baseline), in contrast, NT-proBNP reduction continued for up to 48 h in the levosimendan group (p<0.001 vs. baseline). Although not statistically different, a greater percentage of NT-proBNP reduction was observed with levosimendan treatment at both 24 h (-25 +/- 7% vs. -20 +/- 10%) and 48 h (-32 +/- 7% vs. -20 +/- 11%) compared to dobutamine. Both levosimendan and dobutamine treatments result in significant reduction of NT-proBNP levels at the end of the 24-h infusion. However, compared to dobutamine, levosimendan has better and prolonged effects on NT-proBNP levels in decompensated HF. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.