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ACE inhibitor(ā'sē'ē`, ās) or
angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor(ăn'jēōtĕn`sĭn), drug used to reduce elevated blood pressure (see hypertensionhypertension
or high blood pressure,
elevated blood pressure resulting from an increase in the amount of blood pumped by the heart or from increased resistance to the flow of blood through the small arterial blood vessels (arterioles).
..... Click the link for more information. ), to treat congestive heart failurecongestive heart failure,
inability of the heart to expel sufficient blood to keep pace with the metabolic demands of the body. In the healthy individual the heart can tolerate large increases of workload for a considerable length of time.
..... Click the link for more information. , and to alleviate strain on hearts damaged as a result of a heart attack (see infarctioninfarction,
blockage of blood circulation to a localized area or organ of the body resulting in tissue death. Infarctions commonly occur in the spleen, kidney, lungs, brain, and heart.
..... Click the link for more information. ). ACE inhibitors block production of an enzyme that helps convert the protein angiotensin 1 into angiotensin 2, a protein that makes blood vessels constrict and promotes retention of fluid, raising blood pressure. Thus ACE inhibitors act to widen the blood vessels and make it easier for the heart to pump blood through the body. captopril (Capoten), ramipril (Altace), and enalapril (Vasotec) are commonly used ACE inhibitors. Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), such as losartan (Cozaar) and valsartan (Diovan), reduce hypertension by displacing angiotensin 2 from receptors on the surface of cells. ARBs are used as alternatives to the less expensive ACE inhibitors because they have fewer side effects.