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N Engl J Med. 1992 Jun 18;326(25):1661-5.

Improvement in exercise performance by inhalation of methoxamine in patients with impaired left ventricular function.

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1
Department of Cardiology, Hôpital Cochin, René Descartes University, Paris, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bronchial hyperresponsiveness to cholinergic stimuli such as the inhalation of methacholine is common in patients with impaired left ventricular function. Such hyperresponsiveness is best explained by cholinergic vasodilation of blood vessels in the small airways, with extravasation of plasma due to high left ventricular filling pressure. Because this vasodilation may be prevented by the inhalation of the vasoconstrictor agent methoxamine, we studied the effect of methoxamine on exercise performance in patients with chronic left ventricular dysfunction.

METHODS:

We studied 19 patients with a mean left ventricular ejection fraction of 22 +/- 4 percent and moderate exertional dyspnea. In the first part of the study, we performed treadmill exercise tests in 10 patients (group 1) at a constant maximal workload to assess the effects of 10 mg of inhaled methoxamine on the duration of exercise (a measure of endurance). In the second part of the study, we used a graded exercise protocol in nine additional patients (group 2) to assess the effects of inhaled methoxamine on maximal exercise capacity and oxygen consumption. Both studies were carried out after the patients inhaled methoxamine or placebo given according to a randomized, double-blind, crossover design.

RESULTS:

In group 1, the mean (+/- SD) duration of exercise increased from 293 +/- 136 seconds after the inhalation of placebo to 612 +/- 257 seconds after the inhalation of methoxamine (P = 0.001). In group 2, exercise time (a measure of maximal exercise capacity) increased from 526 +/- 236 seconds after placebo administration to 578 +/- 255 seconds after methoxamine (P = 0.006), and peak oxygen consumption increased from 18.5 +/- 6.0 to 20.0 +/- 6.0 ml per minute per kilogram of body weight (P = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS:

The inhalation of methoxamine enhanced exercise performance in patients with chronic left ventricular dysfunction. However, the improvement in the duration of exercise at a constant workload (endurance) was much more than the improvement in maximal exercise capacity assessed with a progressive workload. These data suggest that exercise-induced vasodilation of airway vessels may contribute to exertional dyspnea in such patients. Whether or not inhaled methoxamine can provide long-term benefit in patients with heart failure will require further study.

PMID:
1588979
DOI:
10.1056/NEJM199206183262503
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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