Acute effects of oxygen, nifedipine, and diltiazem in patients with cystic fibrosis and mild pulmonary hypertension

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1989;6(1):53-9. doi: 10.1002/ppul.1950060113.


The acute effects of oxygen, nifedipine, and diltiazem were studied in eight patients with cystic fibrosis and mild pulmonary hypertension, to assess the possibility of relieving the latter before the occurrence of irreversible vascular changes. Oxygen decreased pulmonary pressure (-23%) and resistance (-21%), while increasing systemic resistance (+23%). Nifedipine increased cardiac index (+30%), at the expense of augmented right ventricular work (+42%), resulting in a decreased calculated pulmonary resistance (-23%); pulmonary artery pressure remained unchanged, however. Nifedipine decreased arterial Po2 (-10%), suggesting ventilation-perfusion mismatch. Four of the eight patients responded to diltiazem. Their pulmonary pressure (-35%) and resistance (-43%) decreased, while systemic vascular tone remained unchanged. Oxygen in three patients, and diltiazem in two, returned pulmonary pressures and resistances to normal values. Early reversal of pulmonary hypertension is possible, and intervention is desirable before the establishment of chronic hypoxia, cor pulmonale, or right ventricular failure. Our data does not support the use of nifedipine in pulmonary hypertension, but shows that oxygen, and in some cases diltiazem, act as effective and selective pulmonary vasodilators.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance / drug effects
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Diltiazem / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Nifedipine / therapeutic use*
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy*
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio / drug effects


  • Diltiazem
  • Nifedipine