Influence of ACE-inhibition on salt-mediated worsening of pulmonary gas exchange in heart failure

Marco Guazzi, Roberto Brambilla, Piergiuseppe Agostoni, Maurizio D. Guazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: In congestive heart failure (CHF), pulmonary gas exchange, as evaluated by carbon monoxide diffusion (DLCO), is impaired. ACE-inhibition improves DLCO. Infusion of saline worsens DLCO, because of upregulated sodium and water transport to the alveolar interstitium, which thickens the alveolar-capillary interface and lengthens the diffusion path for gas exchange. We investigated whether enalapril can readjust the capillary permeability to sodium. Methods: In 10 NYHA class II-III CHF patients, we measured DLCO, its two subcomponents (VC, capillary blood volume available for gas exchange, and DM, alveolar-capillary membrane diffusion), left and right ventricular filling pressures, plasma noradrenaline, aldosterone and renin activity, at baseline and following saline infusion in the main pulmonary artery stem, before and after 1 week enalapril treatment (20 mg daily). Results: Saline (150 ml) significantly reduced DLCO (-9.1%) and DM (-9.8%) and augmented VC (+10.7%). Responses to 750 ml saline were somewhat greater and qualitatively similar. Enalapril produced a significant improvement of DLCO and DM at rest as well as after saline, that was not associated with variations in ventricular filling pressures, cardiac output and left ventricular ejection fraction, and was not accounted for by humoral changes. Conclusions: In CHF, ACE-inhibition attenuates the deterioration of pulmonary gas transfer produced by saline infusion, suggesting an ability to readjust the upregulated sodium transport across the pulmonary microvascular endothelium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-487
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Enalapril
  • Heart failure
  • Pulmonary function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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