A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) compared treatment with common antihypertensives atenolol and losartan in patients with Marfan syndrome who had an enlarged aortic root.

The Atenolol vs. Losartan in Children and Young Adults with Marfan Syndrome study was a randomized study that enrolled 608 patients aged 6 months to 25 years from 2007–2011 across 21 clinical centers in the United States, Canada, and Belgium. Atenolol is a cardioselective beta-blocker that works by relaxing blood vessels and decreasing heart rate to improve blood flow and blood pressure. Losartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker that works by improving blood flow and pumping of the heart.

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Despite earlier research showing that losartan may be more effective in slowing aortic-root enlargement than atenolol, researchers found

no significant differences in the rate of aortic-root dilation between the two treatment groups over three years in the current study. Younger patients experienced a greater decrease in the severity of aortic-root enlargement over time across both treatment groups. Researchers note that initiating therapy at a younger age and earlier stage of the disease may be beneficial.

For more information visit NIH.gov.