Aims Impaired coronary microcirculation is thought to contribute to myocardial ischaemia, causing an abnormal increase in left ventricular end-diastolic pressure during exercise in individuals with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The effects of nicorandil on left ventricular end-diastolic pressure during exercise were examined in patients with this condition. Methods and results Left ventricular pressures and dimensions were measured simultaneously during supine bicycle exercise in 23 patients with nonobstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, before and after intravenous injection of either nicorandil (0.1 mg/kg) or propranolol (0.15 mg/kg). Exercise thallium-201 scintigraphy was also performed. Patients were grouped according to the changes in left ventricular end-diastolic pressure during exercise before treatment. Group I comprised 13 patients in whom left ventricular end-diastolic pressure increased progressively to abnormal values during exercise; group II comprised 10 patients in whom left ventricular end-diastolic pressure changed biphasically. The extents of both left ventricular hypertrophy and ischemic burden during exercise were greater in group I than in group II. Of the eight group I patients who received nicorandil, four individuals exhibited biphasic changes in left ventricular end-diastolic pressure during exercise after its administration whereas four subjects showed no such effect of the drug. Left ventricular end-diastolic pressure increased progressively during exercise after propranolol treatment in all 6 group II patients given this drug. Conclusion Nicorandil has a salutary effect on the changes in left ventricular end-diastolic pressure during exercise in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
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