Effects of nitroprusside on transmitral flow velocity patterns in extreme heart failure: a combined hemodynamic and Doppler echocardiographic study of varying loading conditions

T Masuyama, F G St Goar, E L Alderman, R L Popp
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 1990, 16 (5): 1175-85
To explore the mechanisms of change of left ventricular diastolic filling associated with preload and afterload reduction, the influence of nitroprusside on the transmitral flow velocity pattern, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and left ventricular pressure interaction was studied in 11 patients with end-stage heart failure. Pulsed Doppler echocardiographic recordings of mitral inflow were obtained with simultaneous high fidelity left ventricular and phase-corrected pulmonary capillary wedge pressure recordings before and during levels of nitroprusside infusion. With nitroprusside, left ventricular systolic and end-diastolic pressures decreased by 14% and 41% (p less than 0.05, p less than 0.05), respectively, and cardiac output increased by 67% (p less than 0.05). The pulmonary capillary wedge-left ventricular crossover pressure decreased by 41% (p less than 0.05), but the time constant of isovolumetric left ventricular pressure decrease T was insignificantly changed. Isovolumetric relaxation time and acceleration and deceleration times of the early diastolic filling wave were significantly prolonged with nitroprusside infusion (p less than 0.05, p less than 0.05 and p less than 0.05, respectively). Peak early diastolic filling velocity was maintained (65 +/- 11 to 62 +/- 13 cm/s, p = NS) in spite of the decreased absolute crossover pressure. Changes in peak early diastolic filling velocity correlated weakly with changes in the crossover pressure (r = 0.48, p less than 0.05) and correlated better with the crossover to left ventricular minimal pressure difference (r = 0.78, p less than 0.05). Peak early diastolic filling velocity appears to be most affected by the early diastolic pulmonary capillary wedge to left ventricular pressure difference rather than the absolute pulmonary capillary wedge pressure. The lack of peak flow velocity change during nitroprusside infusion could be explained by either the associated decrease in left ventricular minimal pressure or downward shift of left ventricular diastolic pressure by the same amount as the decrease in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure. This may reflect a reduction of external constraint to ventricular distensibility produced by a reduction in filling volume in patients with a markedly dilated ventricle. Thus, a prolonged early diastolic filling period and preserved peak early diastolic filling velocity in spite of decreased left ventricular filling pressure and constant relaxation rate are associated with the beneficial effects of nitroprusside on left ventricular function in patients with severe congestive heart failure.

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