Dobutamine and nitroprusside infusion in patients with severe congestive heart failure: Hemodynamic improvement by discordant effects on mitral regurgitation, left atrial function, and ventricular function

S. Capomolla, M. Pozzoli, C. Opasich, O. Febo, G. Riccardi, F. Salvucci, R. Maestri, M. Sisti, F. Cobelli, L. Tavazzi

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Objectives: In patients with severe heart failure additional therapeutic support with intravenous inotropic or vasodilator drugs is frequently used in the attempt to obtain hemodynamic control. The nature and extent to which diastolic filling, atrial function, and mitral regurgitation are modified by these drugs nave not been fully explored. The aim of this study was to compare the acute adaptations of the left ventricular performance, left atrial function, and mitral regurgitation that accompanied hemodynamic improvement during intravenous dobutamine and nitroprusside infusions in patients with severe chronic heart failure. Methods: Forty consecutive patients with severe heart failure were evaluated by simultaneous echo- Doppler and hemodynamic investigations at baseline and during nitroprusside and dobutamine administration. Mitral flow velocity variables, left atrial and ventricular volumes, left atrial reservoir, conduit and pump volumes, and mitral regurgitation jet area were compared by analysis of variance for repeated measurements. Results: Nitroprusside increased cardiac output (2.1 ± .5 vs 2.6 ± .5 L/min/m 2, p <0.004), reduced left ventricular filling pressure (25 ± 6 vs 14 ± 4 mm Hg, p <0.0001), and improved left atrial pump volume (19 ± 3 vs 26 ± 12 ml, p <0.02) without variations in left atrial reservoir and conduit volume. The restoration of preload reserve and improvement of the atrial contribution to left ventricular diastolic filling were demonstrated by the Doppler mitral flow pattern which moved from a restrictive to a normal pattern. Furthermore mitral regurgitation decreased in a patients (9 ± 4.6 vs 4.6 ± 3.4 cm 2, p <0.0001). Dobutamine increased cardiac output (2.1 ± .5 vs 2.8 ± .6 L/min/m 2), but the effects on pulmonary wedge pressure and mitral regurgitation were variable and unpredictable. Left atrial reservoir and conduit volumes increased, whereas left atrial pump volume did not change (19 ± 13 vs 22 ± 14 ml, p = NS). Furthermore Doppler mitral flow showed a persistent restrictive pattern. Conclusions: In patients with advanced congestive heart failure both nitroprusside and dobutamine improve cardiac output, with different adaptations of left ventricular performance and left atrial function. Nitroprusside seems to restore both atrial and ventricular pump function better. Careful echo-Doppler monitoring during drug infusion provides information relevant to the clinical treatment of individual patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1098
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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