Introduction: Hemorheological factors play an important role in the pathomechanism of ischemic cerebrovascular disorders. Abnormal rheological conditions in patients with chronic cerebrovascular disease predispose for recurrent strokes. Vinpocetine (VP), a synthetic ethyl esther of apovincamine, has successfully been used in the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases, in part because of its favourable rheological effects.
Patients and methods: The study investigates the hemorheological changes in 40 patients in the chronic stage of ischemic cardiovascular disease after administration of vinpocetine. All patients received a high dose of intravenous VP in doses gradually increased to l mg/kg/day. In addition, 20 patients (mean age: 61+/-8 years) received 30 mg VP orally for 3 months. The other 20 patients (mean age: 59+/-6 years), who received placebo tablets, served as controls. Hemorheological parameters (hematocrit, plasma fibrinogen, whole blood viscosity, red blood cell aggregation and deformability) were evaluated at 1 and 3 months.
Results: The high-dose parenteral VP significantly decreased red blood cell aggregation, plasma and whole blood viscosity (p < 0.05) compared to the initial values. In patients with additional oral treatment, plasma and whole blood viscosities were significantly lower compared to the placebo patients at 3 months (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Our results confirmed the beneficial rheological effects of high-dose parenteral VP (partially caused by hemodilution) observed previously, and also warrant its long-term oral admission to maintain the beneficial rheological changes.