Since sodium and water retention have been implicated as major factors limiting maximal metabolic vasodilation in congestive heart failure (CHF), the effect of rigorous diuresis on maximal vasodilatory capacity was studied systematically in 9 subjects hospitalized with decompensated CHF. Peak reactive hyperemic blood flow, measured by straingauge plethysmography, was used as an index of maximal vasodilatory capacity. After 24 hours of diuresis and a 2.2-kg weight loss, maximal flow increased from 19.9 to 26.1 ml/min · 100 ml (p < 0.05). Despite a further 1.4-kg weight loss between 24 and 48 hours, maximal blood flow increased no more (26.1 to 25.8 ml/min · 100 ml). Since blood pressure did not change significantly, minimal forearm resistance and maximal conductance showed similar improvements. It is unlikely that vasoconstrictor hormone changes could account for this effect since a marked decrease in plasma norepinephrine occurred in only 2 of 8 subjects and plasma renin activity decreased in only 1 subject. As a group there was no significant change in norepinephrine level, which remained substantially above normal (1,525 to 1,148 pg/ml), or in plasma renin activity (12.3 to 18.9 ng/ml/hour). Because the improvement in vasodilator capacity reached a plateau by 24 hours despite continued diuresis, and because peak reactive hyperemic blood flow was still 32% below normal, it is suggested that a second mechanism besides sodium and water retention is responsible for a significant portion of the impaired peripheral vasodilation in CHF.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine