The effects of oral diltiazem (360 mg/day) on exercise tolerance, left ventricular performance, and plasma lactate and catecholamine levels were studied in 13 patients with atherosclerotic coronary artery disease in a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind protocol. Exercise duration to the onset of ischemic ST segment depression, time to angina pectoris, and time to peak exercise improved by 120, 174, and 144 sec, respectively (p < .0001). Left ventricular ejection fraction, as determined by radionuclide angiography, increased in patients at rest from 52 ± 11% (mean ± SD) during placebo therapy to 58 ± 11% during diltiazem therapy (p < .001); at peak exercise ejection fraction increased from 44 ± 11% during placebo treatment to 52 ± 15% during diltiazem therapy (p < .01). The mean plasma norepinephrine level in patients at rest increased from 498 ± 221 pg/ml during placebo treatment to 667 ± 272 pg/ml during diltiazem therapy (p < .05). Resting standing blood pressure and supine and standing diastolic blood pressures decreased significantly with diltiazem. In all 10 patients followed over a long term, oral diltiazem caused persistent improvement in exercise performance at 12 to 20 weeks, without evidence of placebo effects. Thus, diltiazem is highly effective in divided doses of 360 mg/day for the therapy of chronic angina pectoris due to coronary artery disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)