Nitroprusside and regional vascular capacitance in patients with severe congestive heart failure.
BACKGROUND This study investigates the effects of sodium nitroprusside on regional vascular capacitance in eight patients with severe congestive heart failure (New York Heart Association class IV) and pulmonary hypertension.
METHODS AND RESULTS Regional relative blood volumes in the splanchnic and pulmonary region were determined by equilibrium blood pool scintigraphy. Hepatic venous wedge pressure and the mean of pulmonary artery and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure were used to represent the distending pressures of the splanchnic and pulmonary capacitance vessels, respectively. The dose of sodium nitroprusside was increased stepwise until systolic pulmonary artery pressure decreased below 50 mm Hg. This caused reductions in mean aortic pressure from 89 +/- 5 to 66 +/- 3 mm Hg (p less than 0.005), in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure from 31 +/- 1 to 16 +/- 2 mm Hg (p less than 0.001), and in hepatic venous wedge pressure from 10.0 +/- 1.0 to 5.9 +/- 0.6 mm Hg (p less than 0.005). Intestinal blood volume increased by 26 +/- 7% (p less than 0.005), whereas hepatic blood volume decreased by 9 +/- 3% (p less than 0.02). Pulmonary blood volume was unchanged. Analysis of intestinal and pulmonary vascular pressure-volume relations showed larger or equal blood volumes contained at lower distending pressures, indicating that sodium nitroprusside reduced smooth muscle tone of the capacitance vessels in these regions. The reduction of hepatic blood volume was compatible with passive expulsion of blood subsequent to reduced venous pressure. There was no change in the count rate from the spleen.
CONCLUSIONS Nitroprusside reduced venous pressure in patients with congestive heart failure by active relaxation of intestinal and pulmonary capacitance vessels. Hepatic vascular volume was probably reduced by a passive mechanism.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association