Age and blood pressure determine vasodepressor response to sodium nitroprusside

Norman A. Irvine, Alexander M.M. Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Twenty-two patients, aged 33-72 years, with uncomplicated essential hypertension were given sequential incremental intravenous infusions of sodium nitroprusside, each of 10 min duration, to examine the determinants of the vasodepressor response. Changes in mean arterial pressure (ΔMAP), heart rate (ΔHR), and plasma norepinephrine (Δnc) were determined at the end of each infusion period. The slopes of the dose-response curves obtained were directly proportional to predrug blood pressure (p < 0.0001) and inversely proportional to baroreflex sensitivity as measured by the slope of the ΔHR vs. ΔMAP relationship (p = 0.0007). Baroreflex sensitivity was in turn inversely proportional to, and approximately equally dependent on, predrug blood pressure and age (p = 0.0116). Thus, the slopes of the dose-response curves were determined by both predrug blood pressure and patient age. The relationship was such that predrug blood pressure accounted for ∼75% of the variability in the slope of the dose-response curve, and age for only 25%. This suggests that the age-related reduction in baroreflex sensitivity is mechanistically different from the hypertension-related reduction and is of less importance in modifying homeostatic responses to vasodilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-821
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1984


  • Age
  • Baroreflex sensitivity
  • Blood pressure homeostasis
  • Hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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