Lisinopril, a long-acting, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, was compared with placebo in a randomized, parallel, double-blind, 12-week study of 193 patients with heart failure. All patients were New York Heart Association Functional Class II, III, or IV and had remained symptomatic despite optimal dosing with digoxin and diuretics. After 12 weeks of therapy, the improvement in treadmill exercise duration was greater in the lisinopril group (113 seconds) compared with the placebo group (86 seconds). This improvement in exercise duration was particularly evident in patients with left ventricular ejection fractions less than 35% (lisinopril = 130 seconds; placebo = 94 seconds). In patients receiving lisinopril, the increase in exercise duration was accompanied by an improvement in quality of life as measured by the Yale Scale Dyspnea/Fatigue Index and in signs and symptoms of heart failure. In addition, the lisinopril group had a larger mean increase (3.7%) in left ventricular ejection fraction when compared with the placebo group (1.3%). Thus, lisinopril, administered once daily for 12 weeks, was well tolerated and efficacious in the treatment of heart failure when used concomitantly with diuretics and digoxin.