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Vasodilators – Angina and Heart Failure Management

by Pravin Shukle, MD
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    00:01 Let's talk about direct vasodilators. Nitrates like nitroprusside and nitroglycerin are often used.

    00:08 And nesiritide is a new drug that is a natriuretic peptide. It causes vasodilation and volume reduction at the same time.

    00:15 We give it as an IV infusion in acute heart failure only. So, they are not used in chronic heart failure patients.

    00:24 Other direct vasodilators include hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate.

    00:29 You can use one or both in combination. They do reduce mortality in African American patients in a major study that was released in the United States some years ago.

    00:41 Calcium channel blockers are also sometimes used, but not in heart failure. These are more angina type medications.

    00:48 Remember that the dihydropyridine and the non-dihydropyridine drugs differ in that one works on the heart and one doesn't.

    00:57 There is no use in reducing inotropy, so that's not particularly helpful.

    01:01 Peripheral vasodilation can help in terms of calcium channel blockers, but it also causes a reflex tachycardia, so we don't use it as much in heart failure.

    01:16 Loop diuretics are a mainstay in heart failure treatment. I won't go into too much detail about diuretics as a whole because I've discussed them in detail in the hypertension lecture.

    01:27 But to make a long story short, furosemide is probably used the most in acute heart failure, and it can also be used, and easily titrated in chronic heart failure too.

    01:38 If a patient is allergic to furosemide, we sometimes use ethacrynic acid.

    01:45 Other diuretics include the thiazide diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide and indampamide.

    01:51 Indampamide, by some measures, are better tolerated. I personally haven't seen a huge difference between the two.

    01:58 Metolazone is another diuretic agent that is given in acute situations.

    02:05 I discussed this in our hypertension lecture. Go to the hypertension lecture and have a look at the heart failure cocktail that I mentioned there.

    02:15 Potassium sparing diuretics are also used as well. Amiloride, spironolactone, and triamterene.

    02:23 Once again, I covered these medications in the hypertension lecture.

    02:26 But these are very good to reduce afterload and to reduce hypervolemia.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Vasodilators – Angina and Heart Failure Management by Pravin Shukle, MD is from the course Cardiovascular Pharmacology. It contains the following chapters:

    • Direct Vasodilators
    • Diuretics

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. ...is a direct vasodilator that can be used in heart failure
    2. ...is a calcium channel blocker that can be used in heart failure
    3. ...is a direct vasodilator that does not have a role in treating heart failure.
    4. ...is a calcium channel blocker that does not have a role in treating heart failure.

    Author of lecture Vasodilators – Angina and Heart Failure Management

     Pravin Shukle, MD

    Pravin Shukle, MD


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