Human maternal and fetal plasma glyceryl trinitrate concentrations

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Dec;189(6):1777-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(03)00866-4.


Objective: This study was undertaken to determine the maternal and fetal steady-state concentrations of glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) and its dinitrate metabolites during transdermal administration, at the time of fetal blood sampling for obstetric indications.

Study design: Transdermal GTN (0.4 mg/h) was applied approximately 2 hours before investigative fetal blood sampling to maintain uterine quiescence. Serial maternal venous (MV) and a single fetal venous (FV) plasma samples were collected and assayed for GTN and its metabolites, 1,2- and 1,3-glyceryl dinitrate.

Results: The steady-state MV plasma concentration was 4.3+/-0.84 nmol/L (mean+/-SEM, n=7), and the dinitrate metabolites were detectable in the MV but not quantifiable. GTN was detectable in the FV (n=7) but was not quantifiable as the levels were less than the lower limit of sensitivity of the assay (<1 nmol/L).

Conclusion: During transdermal GTN administration, the steady-state FV/MV concentration ratio is less than 0.23 at the time of fetal blood sampling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Biological Availability
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / drug effects
  • Nitroglycerin / administration & dosage
  • Nitroglycerin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy / blood*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tocolytic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Tocolytic Agents / pharmacokinetics*


  • Tocolytic Agents
  • Nitroglycerin