Variation in pulmonary artery pressure has important consequences for the interpretation of isolated pressure measurements in patients with chronic heart failure. To investigate the nature of diurnal variation in pulmonary artery pressure in chronic heart failure, eight angina-free men (aged 50-72 years) with treated chronic heart failure caused by ischaemic heart disease underwent continuous ambulatory pulmonary artery pressure recording by a transducer tipped catheter. The mean (1 SD) daytime pulmonary artery pressure was 29.6 (5.0) mm Hg systolic and 13.7 (5.6) mm Hg diastolic. The mean change in pressure from day to night was +5.1 (3.2) mm Hg systolic and +3.8 (1.7) mm Hg diastolic; and the mean change from standing to lying +9.3 (2.3) mm Hg systolic and +6.4 (2.1) mm Hg diastolic. In six of the eight patients there was considerable rise in pulmonary artery pressure at night, but in the two patients with the most severe symptoms there was no nocturnal rise. In patients with chronic heart failure, nocturnal pulmonary artery pressure is not determined by postural change alone. But interpretation of isolated pulmonary artery pressure measurements must take the posture of the patient into account.
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