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Review
. 1988 Jan;115(1 Pt 1):228-38.
doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(88)90551-0.

The Total Vascular Burden, Peripheral and Coronary: Vasodilator Effects of Nifedipine

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Review

The Total Vascular Burden, Peripheral and Coronary: Vasodilator Effects of Nifedipine

L H Opie et al. Am Heart J. .

Abstract

While the total ischemic burden on the left ventricle represents the combined effects of both symptomatic and asymptomatic myocardial ischemia, the total vascular burden has many components including an increased systemic peripheral vascular resistance, an increased pulmonary vascular resistance, and an increased coronary vascular resistance. These factors may all influence ventricular function. Hypertension contributes significantly to the vascular burden, especially when combined with left ventricular hypertrophy, which predisposes to ischemia by multiple mechanisms. In patients with hypertension and cardiomegaly, sublingual nifedipine has been shown to increase left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction and the average diastolic filling rate. In the presence of acute myocardial infarction, nifedipine moves the LV function curve onto a better Frank-Starling relationship as pulmonary wedge pressure falls or stays the same and cardiac output rises. However, because of the delicate balance between myocardial perfusion and the benefits of afterload reduction, including improved remodelling, nifedipine should be given only to selected patients. In congestive heart failure, low-dose nifedipine reduces the afterload and has been shown to have beneficial effects in the majority of patients. Two specific adverse outcomes in only two patients have been reported, one with initial hypotension and one given high-dose nifedipine. Combination nifedipine-beta blocker therapy has been shown to be favorable in the treatment of all varieties of angina, hypertension, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Therefore, when administered appropriately, nifedipine reduces the total vascular burden on the heart in a variety of cardiovascular diseases, with consequent improvement in LV function and a diminished threat of potential myocardial ischemia.

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