Provocation of coronary spasm by dopamine in patients with active variant angina pectoris

F. Crea, S. Chierchia, J. C. Kaski, G. J. Davies, A. Margonato, D. O. Miran, A. Maseri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of dopamine on arteries are different depending on the dose, route of administration, and receptor population. Its administration can cause vasodilation by stimulation of dopaminergic receptors, vasoconstriction by stimulation of α-adrenergic and serotonergic receptors, and even spasm of cerebral arteries when given intracisternally in dogs. The ability of dopamine to provoke coronary spasm was assessed in 18 patients with active vasospastic angina in whom this amine was infused at rates of 5, 10, and 15 μg/kg/min for periods of 5 min each. The 12-lead electrocardiogram and blood pressure (cuff) were monitored throughout the whole test. In nine patients dopamine caused angina and ischemic electrocardiographic changes suggestive of coronary spasm: ST segment elevation in six patients and ST segment depression in the absence of important coronary stenoses in the remaining three. Infusion of dopamine was repeated during coronary angiography in three patients with positive test results; this provoked occlusive coronary spasm with ST segment elevation in two patients and nonocclusive spasm with ST segment depression in the remainder. In conclusion, infusion of dopamine provokes coronary spasm in a sizeable proportion of patients with active vasospastic angina. Its administration may be detrimental in patients susceptible to coronary spasm, such as those with acute myocardial infarction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-269
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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