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Nitrate vasodilators

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Nitrates are used in the treatment of:

  • angina
  • cardiac failure

There are three anti-anginal mechanisms (1):

  • peripheral vasodilatation reduces vascular resistance and reduces cardiac oxygen consumption
  • venous dilatation results in pooling of blood in the peripheries, reduction in end-diastolic pressures and improved coronary flow
  • there is a direct vasodilatory effect on the coronary vessels

In cardiac failure, nitrates work by reducing the pre- and after- loads on the heart by venous and arterial vasodilatation (2).


  • Henderson RA.angina: medical treatment, coronary arteriography and angioplasty.Medicine International (1993); 21(10):389-396. #
  • de Bono D.Management of myocardial infarction.Medicine International (1993);21(10):401-5.

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