We studied the effects of afterload reduction in chronic severe aortic insufficiency by measuring the hemodynamic response to oral hydralazine in 10 consecutive patients. Hemodynamics were also measured during maximal exercise in eight of these patients. At rest, hydralazine reduced pulmonary artery wedge pressure from 14 to 9 mm Hg (p<0.01), and increased cardiac index by 70% and stroke volume index by 35% (both p<0.001). Before hydralazine, pulmonary artery wedge pressure exceeded 20 mm Hg in five patients during maximal exercise; with hydralazine, at identical levels of exercise, pulmonary artery wedge pressure remained below 21 to 12 mm Hg (p<0.05) and increased cardiac index by 31% (p<0.05) during exercise; changes in stroke volume index were more variable and there was no significant increase for the group, although several patients increased stroke volume substantially and the overall increase was 34%. These data show that afterload reduction has beneficial effects on cardiac performance in chronic severe aortic insufficiency both at rest and during exercise. Hydralazine may be of use in such patients either in preparation for valve replacement or as interim therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)