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Bertolissi M., De Monte A., Giordano F.
Azienda Ospedaliera S. Maria della Misericordia - Udine, Second Department of Anesthesia
and Intensive Care Medicine
Background. The present study was designed to compare the hemodynamic effects of nifedipine and sodium nitroprusside, intravenously administered to control acute syste-mic hypertension in the immediate postoperative period after open heart surgery.
Methods. The study was carried out on 16 patients who developed acute systemic hypertension, defined as mean systemic arterial pressure (MAP) values above 90 mmHg, within the first hour after ICU admission, which followed cardiac surgery for valvular and coronary disease. After control measurements during the hypertensive status, each patient was treated by alternating infusions of sodium nitroprusside and nifedipine in order to obtain MAP values of about 80 mmHg with each administration. All patients had preoperative left ventricular ejection fraction above 45%.
Results. Nifedipine produced a superior and significant increase in cardiac index (CI) (+28%) and stroke volume index (SVI) (+30%), and a greater decrease in systemic vascular resistance index (SVRI) (-39%), when compared with sodium nitroprusside [CI (+5%), SVI (no change), SVRI (-27%)]. On the contrary the right and left ventricular filling pressures were reduced significantly by sodium nitroprusside [pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (-30%), central venous pressure (-20%)], while nifedipine induced small and not significant changes in the preload values. No ECG changes suggesting ischemic myocardial events were observed in any patient.
Conclusions. On the basis of these results it has been concluded that nifedipine affects primarily the arteriolar resistance vessels without significant changes in venous tone, which is on the contrary markedly reduced by sodium nitroprusside. The better improvement in cardiac index and stroke volume index obtained with the administration of nifedipine, makes this drug a good alternative to sodium nitroprusside for treatment of acute hypertension after cardiac surgery in patients with a good preoperative left ventricular function.