In a study designed to investigate potential non-parenteral treatment for chronic heart failure, hydrallazine, 225 to 300 mg per day, was given orally to 9 patients. There was no significant change in heart rate or mean arterial pressure as cardiac output increased. Left ventricular stroke work increased significantly and pulmonary artery wedge pressure fell. Systemic and pulmonary vascular resistances fell. With the addition of 2 per cent glyceryl trinitrate paste, there was a further decline in mean pulmonary arterial and wedge pressures, without a significant change in heart rate, arterial pressures, cardiac output, or systemic or pulmonary vascular resistance. There were no untoward effects from either form of treatment. All patients reported relief of shortness of breath and other symptoms related to ventricular dysfunction. This study supports the suggestion that oral hydrallazine is effective in increasing cardiac output and decreasing pulmonary congestion. Furthermore, the addition of topical glyceryl trinitrate provides a greater reduction of pulmonary pressures, probably through its predominant venodilator action. In some selected patients with heart failure, oral hydrallazine and topical glyceryl trinitrate in combination produce beneficial clinical and haemodynamic effects, probably through afterload and preload reduction, respectively.
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