Treatment with captopril in resistant normotensive congestive heart failure is associated with a pronounced reduction in blood pressure, particularly after the first dose. The effects of this reduction on renal function were assessed in 10 patients at the beginning of and during chronic treatment (at one week and three months). Renal plasma flow and glomerular filtration rates were measured by isotope clearance during water diuresis. The first dose of captopril (25 mg) led to a pronounced fall in renal plasma flow and glomerular filtration rates together with a decrease in mean arterial pressure; this fall correlated with baseline plasma renin activity. These changes were paralleled by decreases in water and sodium excretion. In contrast, by the end of the first week of treatment a similar fall in mean arterial pressure occurred together with a pronounced increase in renal plasma flow; the glomerular filtration rate was maintained and there was no decrease in water and sodium excretion. This new response pattern recurred after three months of treatment. The difference in response at different stages of treatment may reflect the balance between the different mechanisms influencing kidney dynamics in heart failure and their alteration by converting enzyme inhibition. The sustained increase in renal plasma flow during chronic treatment with captopril may account for the continued control of heart failure in these patients.
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