Effect of Angiotensin System Inhibitors on Physical Performance in Older People – A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Lorna Caulfield, Philip Heslop, Katherine E. Walesby, Deepa Sumukadas, Avan A. Sayer, Miles D. Witham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Preclinical and observational data suggest that angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may be able to improve physical performance in older people via direct and indirect effects on skeletal muscle. We aimed to summarize current evidence from randomised controlled trials in this area. Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Setting and Participants: Randomized controlled trials enrolling older people, comparing ACEi or ARB to placebo, usual care or another antihypertensive agent, with outcome data on measures of physical performance. Methods: We searched multiple electronic databases without language restriction between inception and the end of February 2020. Trials were excluded if the mean age of participants was <65 years or treatment was targeting specific diseases known to affect muscle function (for example heart failure). Data were sought on measures of endurance and strength. Standardized mean difference (SMD) treatment effects were calculated using random-effects models with RevMan software. Results: Eight trials (952 participants) were included. Six trials tested ACEi, 2 trials tested ARBs. The mean age of participants ranged from 66 to 79 years, and the duration of treatment ranged from 2 months to 1 year. Trials recruited healthy older people and people with functional impairment; no trials specifically targeted older people with sarcopenia. Risk of bias for all trials was low to moderate. No significant effect was seen on endurance outcomes [6 trials, SMD 0.04 (95% CI –0.22 to 0.29); P =.77; I2 = 53%], strength outcomes [6 trials, SMD –0.02 (95% CI –0.18 to 0.14), P =.83, I2 = 21%] or the short physical performance battery [3 trials, SMD –0.04 (95% CI –0.19 to 0.11), P =.60, I2 = 0%]. No evidence of publication bias was evident on inspection of funnel plots. Conclusions and Implications: Existing evidence does not support the use of ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers as a single intervention to improve physical performance in older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1215-1221.e2
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number6
Early online date26 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


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