Arterial hemodynamics in human hypertension: Effects of the calcium channel antagonist nifedipine

Chih Tai Ting, Jaw Wen Chen, Mau Song Chang, Frank C.P. Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have shown some distinct hemodynamic alterations in essential hypertension, including increased resistance, wave reflections, and pulse wave velocity and decreased arterial compliance. These abnormalities are completely normalized by nonspecific smooth muscle dilation with nitroprusside but not by combined α- and β-adrenergic blockade or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition, suggesting an enhanced smooth muscle tone that cannot be attributed solely to the sympathetic nervous or renin-angiotensin systems. Since hypertensive patients have an enhanced calcium influx-dependent vasoconstriction, we performed the present study to examine the extent to which the dihydropyridine calcium channel antagonist nifedipine could normalize the hemodynamic abnormalities in essential hypertension. An essential hypertensive patient group was compared with a normotensive group similar in age, body size, and proportion of men and women. During diagnostic cardiac catheterization ascending aortic micromanometer pressures and electromagnetic flows were measured at baseline and after sufficient sublingual nifedipine (mean, 24 mg) to normalize blood pressure. From the pressures and flows, aortic input impedance, wave reflection magnitude, and compliance were computed. In the hypertensive group, the hemodynamic alterations were indistinguishable from those summarized above. Nifedipine produced sufficient vasodilation to completely normalize all of these hemodynamic alterations, including wave reflections. From these results, together with those reported in our previous studies, it is clear that the various classes of antihypertensive agents affect hemodynamics differently. All are capable of decreasing blood pressure to normotensive levels, but only nitroprusside and nifedipine can also completely normalize all the other pulsatile hemodynamic alterations. Thus, these hemodynamic effects of the different classes of antihypertensive agents should be considered in choosing a therapeutic modality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1326-1332
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • antihypertensive agents
  • blood pressure
  • calcium channel blockers
  • hypertension, essential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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