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Hormonal, global, and regional haemodynamic responses to a vascular antagonist of vasopressin in patients with congestive heart failure with and without hyponatraemia.
  1. P Nicod,
  2. J Biollaz,
  3. B Waeber,
  4. J J Goy,
  5. R Polikar,
  6. J Schlapfer,
  7. M D Schaller,
  8. G A Turini,
  9. J Nussberger,
  10. K G Hofbauer


    The pathophysiological role of an increase in circulating vasopressin in sustaining global and regional vasoconstriction in patients with congestive heart failure has not been established, particularly in patients with hyponatraemia. To assess this further, 20 patients with congestive heart failure refractory to digoxin and diuretics were studied before and 60 minutes after the intravenous injection (5 micrograms/kg) of the vascular antagonist of vasopressin [1(beta-mercapto-beta,beta-cyclopentamethylene-propionic acid), 2-(0-methyl) tyrosine] arginine vasopressin. Ten patients were hyponatraemic (plasma sodium less than 135 mmol/l) and 10 were normonatraemic. In both groups of patients the vascular vasopressin antagonist did not alter systemic or pulmonary artery pressures, right atrial pressure, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, cardiac index, or vascular resistances. Furthermore, there was no change in skin and hepatic blood flow in either group after the injection of the vascular antagonist. Only one patient in the hyponatraemic group showed considerable haemodynamic improvement. He had severe congestive heart failure and a high concentration of plasma vasopressin (51 pmol/l). Plasma renin activity, vasopressin, or catecholamine concentrations were not significantly changed in response to the administration of the vasopressin antagonist in either the hyponatraemic or the normonatraemic groups. Patients with hyponatraemia, however, had higher baseline plasma catecholamine concentrations, heart rate, pulmonary pressure and resistance, and lower hepatic blood flow than patients without hyponatraemia. Plasma vasopressin and plasma renin activity were slightly, though not significantly, higher in the hyponatraemic group. Thus the role of vasopressin in sustaining regional or global vasoconstriction seems limited in patients with congestive heart failure whether or not concomitant hyponatraemia is present. Vasopressin significantly increases the vascular tone only in rare patients with severe congestive heart failure and considerably increased vasopressin concentrations. Patients with hyponatraemia do, however, have raised baseline catecholamine concentrations, heart rate, pulmonary arterial pressure and resistance, and decreased hepatic blood flow.

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