Nitroprusside in preeclampsia. Circulatory distress and paradoxical bradycardia.
In severe preeclampsia, short-term peripartum management of hypertension with hydralazine is complicated by relatively prolonged hypotensive episodes, resulting in fetal distress. We hypothesized that nitroprusside's rapid onset and brief antihypertensive action would permit more controlled blood pressure reduction. Nitroprusside was infused into 10 invasively monitored subjects until mean arterial pressure either 1) was gradually reduced 10-20% or 2) fell abruptly. Subjects fell into two groups, defined by whether the hypotensive effect of nitroprusside was accompanied by a fall in heart rate (group A, n = 8) or a rise (group B, n = 2). Group B showed the expected sinoaortic baroreceptor reflex elevations in heart rate (+17 +/- 6 beats/min) in response to moderate falls in mean arterial pressure (-32 +/- 9 mm Hg) elicited by moderate doses (1.03 +/- 0.23 micrograms/kg/min). However in group A, steep reductions in mean arterial pressure (-75 +/- 22 mm Hg, p less than 0.0001), significantly greater than in group B (p less than 0.05), occurred at much lower doses (0.35 +/- 0.23 micrograms/kg/min; p less than 0.05) and were accompanied by falls in heart rate (-21 +/- 7 beats/min). The apparently paradoxical falls in heart rate and extreme hypotensive responses in group A indicate severe circulatory compromise, corresponding to the cardiac and vasomotor depression that characterizes severe hemorrhage and other forms of acute/severe hypovolemic hypotension. This hemodynamic pattern represents a cardiopulmonary baroreceptor reflex presumably related to the Bezold-Jarisch reflex. The appearance of this pattern in the present study probably reflects the imposition of nitroprusside's prominent venous dilator action on the relatively reduced blood volume that generally characterizes severe preeclampsia.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association