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J Invasive Cardiol. 2004 Aug;16(8):428-32.

Current applications for nicardipine in invasive and interventional cardiology.

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Borgess Heart Institute, Professor of Medicine, Michigan State University, 1521 Gull Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49048-1666, USA.


Interventional coronary procedures, such as rotational atherectomy and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) stenting, are associated with a risk of postoperative vasoconstriction, which can lead to sequelae that produce morbidity and even death. Vasodilators, such as calcium channel blockers, sodium nitroprusside and adenosine, are often administered to prevent or reverse these sequelae, and have proven effective for this purpose. The injectable dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker, nicardipine, has several unique properties that make it an effective option for preventing and/or reversing microvascular or conductance vessel vasoconstriction. In this review, we describe the evidence-based uses of nicardipine injection in interventional cardiology and cardiac catheterization procedures. In comparison to other calcium channel blockers, nicardipine injection appears to be potentially safer, easier to administer and capable of producing a more predictable response. This drug has potential advantages in preventing or reversing the no-reflow phenomenon that sometimes occurs after interventions in coronary bypass grafts. Nicardipine may also be effective when administered in a flush solution with other drugs during rotational atherectomy and clot debulking with or without distal protection devices. It also can control the hypertension that occurs after sternotomy and cardiac surgery, and in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. In summary, the dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker, nicardipine, has a wide range of useful applications during cardiovascular interventions.

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