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Recenti Prog Med. 1990 Apr;81(4):209-14.

[The right ventricle and pulmonary circulation in hypertensive patients].

[Article in Italian]

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  • 1Istituto di Cardiologia dell'Universit√†, Milano.


Elevated blood pressure and vascular resistance in patients with systemic hypertension are paralleled by a proportional rise in pressure and resistance in the lesser circulation. It was hypothesized that increased systemic reaction to adrenergic stimulation is shared by the pulmonary vessels. Thus normotensive subjects and patients with primary hypertension were investigated during mental arithmetic and the cold pressor test. Both groups responded to both stimuli; during arithmetic pressure reaction was mediated through an increase of cardiac output, and during the cold pressor test through a predominant rise in systemic vascular resistance. The pressure changes were emphasized in the hypertensive population. Pressure in the pulmonary artery in normotensive subjects was not affected by cold and was slightly raised (systolic) during arithmetic. In hypertensive patients, on the other hand, systolic and diastolic pressures were consistently augmented by both tests, and pulmonary arteriolar resistance rose by 42% and 29% of control during the cold pressor test and arithmetic, respectively. Changes in resistance reflected neurally-mediated vasoconstriction but not variations in the passive relationship between pressure and flow, since during arithmetic, for a similar rise in flow the driving pressure across the lungs was steady in normotensive subjects and rose significantly in hypertensive patients. In these same patients pressure was augmented by cold test in the absence of substantial changes in flow. At baseline and during tests pulmonary wedge pressure, pleural pressure, arterial blood gases, and pH were similar in the two populations. The intravenous infusion of similar scalar doses of norepinephrine (the same mediator released during cold test) was not effective on the pulmonary vessels of normotensives and caused an obvious vasoconstriction in hypertensives.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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