, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 3-13

Use of nitroglycerin for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction

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After a decade of warnings against the use of nitrates in acute myocardial infarction (MI), they are becoming recognized for their potential to salvage left ventricular (LV) myocardium, geometry and function. Low-dose intravenous (IV) nitroglycerin (NTG) infusion for the first 48 h after acute MI, titrated to lower mean blood pressure by 10% to 30%, but not below 80 mmHg, has been shown to be safe, to improve hemodynamics, and to decrease infarct size, infarct expansion, complications, and deaths in a prospective, randomized, single-blind study of 310 patients. In addition, low-dose NTG infusion for the first 48 h, followed by prolonged buccal NTG given during healing after acute MI in an eccentric dose schedule to minimize tolerance, was found to limit further progressive remodeling and preserve LV function. Meta-analysis of nitrate studies in acute MI indicate that they improve survival. Preliminary and ongoing studies suggest that prolonged NTG therapy post MI can produce further benefit.

This study was supported in part by a grant from the Canadian Heart Foundation, Ottawa, Ontario and was presented in part as a Special Lecture at the 7th Millisrol Scientific Meeting on April 4, 1992, in Tokyo, Japan.