Determinants of drug response in severe chronic heart failure. I. Activation of vasoconstrictor forces during vasodilator therapy

M. Packer, J. Meller, N. Medina, M. Yushak, R. Gorlin

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79 Scopus citations


Vasodilator drugs activate neurohumoral forces that produce peripheral vasoconstriction and tachycardia and probably cause the rebound events observed upon abrupt withdrawal of therapy. To determine their role in limiting therapeutic vasodilator responses, these reactive forces were measured in 40 patients with severe chronic heart failure by quantifying the magnitude of rebound change (MRC) after nitroprusside withdrawal. Groups 1 patients (n=22), who had minimal reactive vasoconstriction (MRC ≤ 27%), showed marked hemodynamic effects with nitroprusside (4.5 μg/kg/min) and isosorbide dinitrate (40 mg orally), associated with significant decreases in heart rate with both drugs (p < .0001). Despite administration of the same doses of both drugs, group 2 patients (n = 18), who had marked rebound changes (MRC > 27%), showed significantly smaller changes in cardiac index, systemic vascular resistance and mean arterial pressure (p < 0.001), associated with no change or increases in heart rate. Rebound events were attenuated and the responses to nitroprusside and nitrates were enhanced in four patients in whom these drugs were readministered after pretreatment with i.v. phentolamine (0.3 mg/min). We conclude that activation of neurohumoral forces can limit the hemodynamic responses to vasodilator administration; this supports the use of combination therapy of direct-acting vasodilators and neurohumoral antagonists in selected patients with severe chronic heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-514
Number of pages9
Issue number3 I
Publication statusPublished - 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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