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Vasodilator therapy

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Vasodilators are effective in treating acute heart failure:

  • they reduce the afterload and/or the preload on the failing heart
  • intravenous administration ensures a rapid action but may cause a precipitous drop in the blood pressure
  • oral administration is preferred by some clinicians

Vasodilators which are commonly used include:

  • drugs which reduce preload:
    • intravenous sodium nitroprusside
    • glyceryl trinitrate

  • drugs which reduce afterload:
    • hydralazine

  • drugs which reduce preload and afterload:
    • prazosin

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