Digitalis and baroreceptor reflexes in man

A FerrariG Mancia


Data in animals indicate that large amounts of digitalis potentiate arterial baroreflexes and that this factor may be important for the cardiovascular effects of the drug. To determine if arterial baroreflex potentiation also exists after administration of therapeutic doses of digitalis in man, we studied how stimulation and deactivation of arterial baroreceptors by phenylephrine and nitroglycerin injection affect heart rate and how stimulation and deactivation of carotid baroreceptors by neck suction and pressure affects blood pressure and heart rate. The study was performed in 29 normotensive or hypertensive subjects before and after injection of Lanatoside C (0.8 mg i.v.). Baroreceptor stimulation reduced heart rate and blood pressure, while baroreceptor deactivation increased both of these variables. The bradycardic and hypotensive effect of baroreceptor stimulation increased significantly after digitalis both in normotensive and hypertensive subjects. However, the tachycardic and hypertensive responses to baroreceptor deactivation were not affected by digitalis. Thus, therapeutic doses of digitalis in man enhance baroreceptor reflexes, and both the heart rate and the blood pressure reflex effects are involved. However, the...Continue Reading


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