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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000 Aug;36(2):487-92.

High dose angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition prevents fluid volume expansion in heart transplant recipients.

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  • 1Center for Exercise Science, College of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, USA.



We sought to test the hypothesis that plasma volume (PV) expansion in heart transplant recipients (HTRs) is caused by failure to reflexively suppress the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAA) axis.


Extracellular fluid volume expansion occurs in clinically stable HTRs who become hypertensive. We have previously demonstrated that the RAA axis is not reflexively suppressed by a hypervolemic stimulus in HTRs.


Plasma volume and fluid regulatory hormones were measured in eight HTRs (57+/-6 years old) both before and after treatment with captopril (225 mg/day). Antihypertensive and diuretic agents were discontinued 10 days before. The HTRs were admitted to the Clinical Research Center (CRC), and, after three days of a constant diet containing 87 mEq/day of Na+, PV was measured by using the modified Evans blue dye dilution technique. After approximately four months (16+/-5 weeks), the same HTRs again discontinued all antihypertensive and diuretic agents; they were progressed to a captopril dose of 75 mg three times per day over 14 days, and the CRC protocol was repeated.


Captopril pharmacologically suppressed (p<0.05) supine rest levels of angiotensin II (-65%) and aldosterone (-75%). The reductions in vasopressin and atrial natriuretic peptide levels after captopril did not reach statistical significance. The PV, normalized for body weight (ml/kg), was significantly reduced by 12% when the HTRs received captopril.


Extracellular fluid volume is expanded (12%) in clinically stable HTRs who become hypertensive. Pharmacologic suppression of the RAA axis with high-dose captopril (225 mg/day) returned HTRs to a normovolemic state. These findings indicate that fluid retention is partly engendered by a failure to reflexively suppress the RAA axis when HTRs become hypervolemic.

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