Eleven patients with acute congestive heart failure were studied during treatment with a loop diuretic. Plasma concentrations of atrial natriuretic peptide were considerably increased before treatment and with successful treatment returned progressively towards normal values. There was a statistically significant correlation between plasma atrial natriuretic peptide concentration and both jugular venous pressure and change of body weight. These results support the hypothesis that atrial distension is an important stimulus to atrial natriuretic peptide release. Furthermore, the close relation between plasma concentrations of atrial natriuretic peptide and clinical improvement in these patients suggests that measurement of plasma atrial natriuretic peptide concentration could provide a clinically useful and non-invasive method of monitoring the response to treatment.
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