Hemodynamic effects of nifedipine at rest and during exercise in primary pulmonary hypertension

Chest. 1984 Jul;86(1):14-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.86.1.14.


The potential short-term pulmonary vasodilator effect of a calcium-channel blocker, nifedipine, was tested in seven patients with primary pulmonary hypertension. Nifedipine (20 mg) produced a significant (p less than 0.01) and persistent decrease in mean pulmonary arterial pressure (58.1 +/- 14.3 to 48.6 +/- 16.3 mm Hg) and pulmonary vascular resistance (1,070 +/- 260 to 695 +/- 266 dynes X sec X cm-5). Cardiac index increased from 2.5 +/- 0.6 to 3.3 +/- 0.8 L/min/m2 (p less than 0.01), and heart rate was unchanged despite a fall in systemic pressure. In three patients tested during exercise on a bicycle, nifedipine resulted in an increase in the duration of exercise in two and a blunting of the exercise-induced increase in pulmonary pressure in all three. Long-term treatment was initiated in five of the seven patients and in two additional patients who did not receive nifedipine in the short-term study; all but one experienced symptomatic improvement. A persistent hemodynamic improvement was observed in three of the four patients restudied after long-term therapy. In conclusion, this study demonstrated the short-term beneficial hemodynamic effects of nifedipine, both at rest and during exercise. A more extensive long-term follow-up is necessary to establish the usefulness of this drug in the treatment of primary pulmonary hypertension.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nifedipine / therapeutic use*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Rest


  • Nifedipine