Comparison of the effects of adenosine and nifedipine in pulmonary hypertension

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1992 Apr;19(5):1060-4. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(92)90295-x.


The hemodynamic effects of intravenously administered adenosine, a potent vasodilator, were examined in 15 patients with pulmonary hypertension. All patients were given adenosine, 50 micrograms/kg per min, increased by 50 micrograms/kg per min at 2 min intervals to a maximum of 500 micrograms/kg per min or until the development of untoward side effects. The patients were then given oral nifedipine, 20 mg every hour, until a greater than or equal to 20% decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance or systemic hypotension occurred. The administration of maximal doses of adenosine, 256 +/- 46 micrograms/kg per min, produced a 2.4% reduction in pulmonary artery pressure (p = NS), a 37% decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance (p less than 0.001) and a 57% increase in cardiac index (p less than 0.001). The administration of maximally effective doses of nifedipine (91 +/- 36 mg) produced a 15% reduction in the mean pulmonary artery pressure (p less than 0.05), a 24% decrease in pulmonary vascular resistance (p less than 0.01) and an 8% increase in cardiac index (p = NS). There was a significant correlation (r = 0.714, p = 0.01) between the reduction in pulmonary vascular resistance that resulted from adenosine administration and that achieved with the administration of nifedipine. Six patients had substantial reductions in pulmonary vascular resistance with adenosine but not with nifedipine. Thus, adenosine is an effective vasodilator in patients with pulmonary hypertension and can be used for safe and rapid assessment of vasodilator reserve in these patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / administration & dosage
  • Adenosine / pharmacology*
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cardiac Output / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Nifedipine / administration & dosage
  • Nifedipine / pharmacology*
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects*
  • Vasodilation / drug effects


  • Nifedipine
  • Adenosine