Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Crit Care. 2012 Oct;27(5):532.e9-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2012.04.019. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Topical nitroglycerin and lidocaine locally vasodilate the radial artery without affecting systemic blood pressure: a dose-finding phase I study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.



Small radial artery diameter (RAD) and vasospasm are barriers to radial artery cannulation. We performed this study to determine if topical nitroglycerin and/or nitroglycerin plus topical lidocaine increases RAD without affecting systemic blood pressure.


This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. In the first visit, to determine the optimal dose of nitroglycerin, subjects were randomized to either 15 or 30 mg nitroglycerin on one wrist and placebo on the other. In visit 2, to assess for any effect of lidocaine on the vasodilator function of nitroglycerin, the same subjects were randomized to 20 mg lidocaine + 30 mg nitroglycerin vs 20 mg lidocaine + placebo, or 40 mg lidocaine + 30 mg nitroglycerin vs 40 mg lidocaine + placebo. In both visits, blood pressure and RAD using ultrasonography were measured for 2 hours.


In visit 1, both nitroglycerin groups significantly increased RAD, with greater increases with 30 mg nitroglycerin (P < .01) and no significant increase in RAD in placebo wrists. In visit 2, increase in RAD was significantly greater with 20 mg lidocaine + 30 mg nitroglycerin vs 20 mg lidocaine + placebo (P < .001), and 40 mg lidocaine + 30 mg nitroglycerin vs 40 mg lidocaine + placebo (P < .001), indicating that lidocaine does not alter the effect of nitroglycerin. There were significant increases in RAD seen as early as 30 minutes. There were no significant change in RAD in lidocaine + placebo-treated wrists and no change in blood pressure in any group.


Topical nitroglycerin and lidocaine significantly increase RAD within 30 to 60 minutes with no effect on contralateral radial artery or blood pressure, indicating a direct, local effect on the radial artery. ( number NCT00686231).

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk