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Am J Cardiol. 1987 Apr 1;59(8):911-4.

Plasma norepinephrine levels in infants and children with congestive heart failure.


To characterize the sympathetic nervous system response to congestive heart failure (CHF) in infants and children, plasma catecholamine levels were measured in 102 subjects undergoing routine cardiac catheterization (mean age 3.3 years, range 0.1 to 14.7), including 61 with left-to-right shunts. Plasma norepinephrine levels were significantly higher (p less than 0.0001) in children with CHF than in those without CHF. A highly significant association (p less than 0.0001) was found between the level of plasma norepinephrine and severity of CHF symptoms. This relation was found for CHF secondary to lesions producing a left-to-right shunt and CHF resulting from primary myocardial dysfunction. In congenital lesions with a left-to-right shunt, plasma norepinephrine levels correlated well with size of the shunt (Qp/Qs) (r = 0.75, p less than 0.001) and degree of pulmonary arterial hypertension (r = 0.70, p less than 0.001). Elevation of plasma norepinephrine concentrations in infants and children are seen with severe CHF regardless of its origin.

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