The extent of neuroendocrine activation, its time course, and relation to left ventricular dysfunction and arrhythmias were investigated in 78 consecutive patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction. High concentrations of arginine vasopressin were found within six hours of symptoms, even in the absence of myocardial infarction (n = 18). Plasma catecholamine concentrations also were highest on admission, whereas renin and angiotensin II concentrations rose progressively over the first three days, not only in those with heart failure but also in patients with no clinical complications. Heart failure, ventricular tachycardia, and deaths were associated with extensive myocardial infarction, low left ventricular ejection fraction, and persistently high concentrations of catecholamines, renin, and angiotensin II up to 10 days after admission, whereas in uncomplicated cases concentrations had already returned to normal.
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