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Heart Attack and Vasodilators

Read more about Vasodilators.

Overview

Nitroglycerin is a common vasodilator. Nitrates help relieve chest pain by dilating the arteries, which allows more blood to flow to the heart muscle. Early in treatment, nitroglycerin may be administered as a tablet placed under the tongue or infused through a vein. Long-term, nitroglycerin may be given on a regular basis through a patch, paste, or orally to control chronic chest pain (angina).

Effect of Vasodilators on Heart Attack

Vasodilators help enlarge (dilate) blood vessels, enhancing blood flow through otherwise narrowed vessels. Ultimately, the heart can work better, because more blood is delivered to its muscle tissues.

Side Effects and Warnings

Possible side effects of vasodilators include:

  • Sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • Fast pulse, racing heart or palpitations (tachycardia)
  • Flushing of face and neck
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Fluid retention

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