Ten patients with chronic heart failure were given a continuous infusion of dopexamine after an initial stage of dose titration. On the dose selected the cardiac index initially rose by 56%, as a result of an increase in both heart rate and stroke volume index. Systemic vascular resistance fell by 34% and the mean arterial pressure did not change. Within 18 hours of the start of the continuous infusion, however, all the variables except heart rate had returned to preinfusion values. Nine of the 10 patients were withdrawn from the 48 hour study, six because of haemodynamic deterioration and two because of side effects. If the premature loss of therapeutic effect reflects an intrinsic property of this agent, dopexamine may be of limited clinical value.
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