Author + information
- Received May 11, 1987
- Revision received July 8, 1987
- Accepted July 23, 1987
- Published online December 1, 1987.
- Sol I. Rajfer, MD, FACC*,1,
- James D. Rossen, MD2,1,
- John W. Nemanich, MD1,
- Frank L. Douglas, MD, PhD3,1,
- Fetima Davis, RN1 and
- Joachim Osinski, MS1
- ↵*Address for reprints: Sol I. Rajfer, MD, University of Chicago, 947 East 58th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637.
Long-term therapy with oral sympathomimetic amines in patients with heart failure has been limited by the eventual development of diminished pharmacologic efficacy. However, a previous investigation in five subjects with heart failure suggested that long-term ingestion of levodopa, which is decarboxylated endogenously to dopamine, produces a sustained improvement in cardiac function. In the present study, levodopa was administered orally (1.5 to 2.0 g) to 14 patients with heart failure while hemodynamic responses and plasma catecholamines were monitored. Initially, an increase in cardiac index and stroke volume index was accompanied by a decline in systemic vascular resistance, mean pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and mean right atrial pressure. Heart rate and mean arterial pressure were unchanged. Plasma concentrations of dopamine rose substantially after drug ingestion and correlated significantly with changes in cardiac index (r = 0.73, p < 0.05).
After 12 weeks of treatment with levodopa, the changes in cardiac index, stroke volume index, systemic vascular resistance and plasma dopamine levels persisted (n = 12 patients). Moreover, a significant decrease occurred in the heart rate at rest. Although there was an initial tendency for plasma norepinephrine concentrations to increase, a return to control levels was documented after long-term treatment. Thus, tolerance to the hemodynamic actions of levodopa did not develop during longterm administration of the drug.
The hemodynamic responses observed can be ascribed to the activation of betaradrenoceptors and dopamine, receptors by dopamine generated from levodopa. The dopamine2 activity of dopamine does not appear to be responsible for the improvement in cardiac performance produced by levodopa.
- Received May 11, 1987.
- Revision received July 8, 1987.
- Accepted July 23, 1987.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation