Effects of oral L-arginine supplementation on exercise-induced QT dispersion and exercise tolerance in stable angina pectoris

Int J Cardiol. 2000 Sep 15;75(2-3):205-10. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5273(00)00324-7.


We assessed the effects of L-arginine (an endogenous precursor of nitric oxide) on the magnitude of exercise-induced QT dispersion in patients with coronary artery disease. The study had a randomized double-blind cross-over design. Twenty-five patients with stable coronary artery disease underwent two separate exercise tests: after oral administration of L-arginine (6 g/24 h for 3 days) or placebo. Indications for cessation of exercise included: pulse limit, exhaustion, chest pain, ST segment depression >2 mm. We found that arginine significantly increased exercise duration from 604+/-146 to 647+/-159 s (P<0.03). However, it had no effect on the sum of exercise-induced ST segment depressions (1.9+/-2.3 and 2.4+/-3.3 on and off arginine, respectively, NS). Exercise shortened QT interval to a similar extent in patients treated with placebo or arginine. QT dispersion changed during exercise from 55+/-21 to 60+/-19 ms (NS) and from 60+/-21 to 53+/-17 ms (NS), respectively. We conclude that, in patients with coronary artery disease, oral supplementation of L-arginine does not affect exercise-induced changes in QT interval duration, QT dispersion or the magnitude of ST segment depression. However, it significantly increases exercise tolerance, most likely due to improved peripheral vasomotion. These results may be of clinical and therapeutic importance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angina Pectoris / physiopathology*
  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Arginine