OBJECTIVE--To measure plasma concentrations of noradrenaline and neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity in relation to cardiac function in patients with congestive heart failure. DESIGN--Retrospective analysis of plasma noradrenaline concentrations and neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity in the arterial and coronary circulations, in patients with a high or low ejection fraction (31.3% (1.3%) or 17.7% (1.1%) respectively) and in healthy volunteers. SETTING--Cardiology department of a university hospital. PATIENTS--41 patients with congestive heart failure with various aetiologies. Ten healthy volunteers served as a reference group. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Concentrations of noradrenaline measured by high performance liquid chromatography and of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity measured by radioimmunoassay. Cardiac index, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance, and systemic vascular resistance were derived by catheterisation of the right heart. Ejection fraction was measured by radionuclide angiography, cineangiography, or M mode echocardiography. RESULTS--There were pronounced and significant increases in circulating arterial concentrations of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity and noradrenaline in both the high and low ejection fraction groups compared with the healthy subjects. In the patients myocardial release of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity tended to be greater compared with normal subjects, but not significantly so. While normal subjects showed myocardial noradrenaline uptake, patients with congestive heart failure showed significant and progressive myocardial noradrenaline release. Arterial as well as coronary sinus concentrations of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity correlated significantly with plasma noradrenaline concentrations from the respective sites. Plasma noradrenaline concentrations in the artery and coronary sinus were negatively correlated with ejection fraction and cardiac index; no such relations were found for concentrations of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity. CONCLUSIONS--Both circulating concentrations of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity and noradrenaline are significantly increased in moderate to severe forms of congestive heart failure. Plasma concentrations of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity correlated with plasma noradrenaline concentrations, but plasma noradrenaline concentrations alone correlated with ejection fraction and cardiac index. Thus plasma noradrenaline concentration seems to be a more sensitive index of cardiac dysfunction than the concentration of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity in congestive heart failure.
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