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Vitamin C Improves Endothelial Function of Conduit Arteries in Patients With Chronic Heart Failure *

Background—Chronic heart failure (CHF) is associated with endothelial dysfunction including impaired endothelium-mediated, flow-dependent dilation (FDD). There is evidence for increased radical formation in CHF, raising the possibility that nitric oxide is inactivated by radicals, thereby impairing endothelial function. To test this hypothesis, we determined the effect of the antioxidant vitamin C on FDD in patients with CHF.

Methods and Results—High-resolution ultrasound and Doppler was used to measure radial artery diameter and blood flow in 15 patients with CHF and 8 healthy volunteers. Vascular effects of vitamin C (25 mg/min IA) and placebo were determined at rest and during reactive hyperemia (causing endothelium-mediated dilation) before and after intra-arterial infusion of N-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) to inhibit endothelial synthesis of nitric oxide. Vitamin C restored FDD in patients with heart failure after acute intra-arterial administration (13.2±1.7% versus 8.2±1.0%; P<.01) and after 4 weeks of oral therapy (11.9±0.9% versus 8.2±1.0%; P<.05). In particular, the portion of FDD mediated by nitric oxide (ie, inhibited by L-NMMA) was increased after acute as well as after chronic treatment (CHF baseline: 4.2±0.7%; acute: 9.1±1.3%; chronic: 7.3±1.2%; normal subjects: 8.9±0.8%; P<.01).

Conclusions—Vitamin C improves FDD in patients with CHF as the result of increased availability of nitric oxide. This observation supports the concept that endothelial dysfunction in patients with CHF is, at least in part, due to accelerated degradation of nitric oxide by radicals.

 

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 12-01-2008
Authors: Burkhard Hornig, MD; Naoshi Arakawa, MD; Christoph Kohler, BS; ; Helmut Drexler, MD
Source: Circulation. 1998;97:363-368