Reduced epicardial coronary vasodilator capacity in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy

Circulation. 1995 Jun 15;91(12):2916-23. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.91.12.2916.


Background: Enlargement of the epicardial coronary arteries occurs in left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy as an adaptation to the increased coronary blood flow.

Methods and results: Vasodilator capacity of the epicardial coronary arteries was determined in 44 patients. The dose-response relation of intracoronary nitroglycerin was assessed in 14 patients (7 control subjects and 7 patients with aortic stenosis [study A]) using quantitative coronary angiography. In a second study (B), vasodilator capacity of the epicardial coronary arteries was determined in 15 control subjects and 15 patients with valvular heart disease. In study A, a curvilinear dose-response relation with maximal vasodilation after 90 micrograms intracoronary nitroglycerin was found in both control subjects and patients with aortic stenosis. Vasodilator capacity was reduced in those with aortic stenosis, although sensitivity to nitroglycerin was similar in both groups. In study B, coronary circumferential length at baseline was larger in those with LV hypertrophy (12.2 +/- 2.2 mm) than in control subjects (8.6 +/- 1.5 mm; P < .001); after 100 micrograms intracoronary nitroglycerin, it increased to 12.9 +/- 2.2 mm (6 +/- 5%) in those with LV hypertrophy and to 10.3 +/- 1.5 mm (21 +/- 8%; P < .001) in control subjects. An inverse relation between baseline circumferential length and its percent increase after nitroglycerin was found (r = -.71, P < .001).

Conclusions: Vasodilator capacity of the epicardial coronary arteries is reduced in patients with LV hypertrophy, although sensitivity to nitroglycerin is normal. This may be due to a flow-mediated decrease in coronary vasomotor tone and/or the occurrence of vascular remodeling with an enlargement of the coronary arteries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitroglycerin / administration & dosage


  • Nitroglycerin