Efficacy and safety of intravenous nicardipine in the control of postoperative hypertension

M. E. Goldberg, N. Halpern, L. Krakoff, R. Sladen, J. Goldberg, G. Gabrielson, C. Neely, J. Orlowski, W. Frischman, J. Floyd, M. Wood, R. Hartz, R. Gray, J. Morganroth, J. Seltzer, D. Maguire, S. Clark, G. Laryami, J. Lessin

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64 Scopus citations


In a double-blind, randomized, multicenter study, the efficacy and safety of intravenous (IV) nicardipine was compared with placebo in the control of postoperative hypertension in cardiac and noncardiac surgical patients. One hundred twenty-two patients (17 cardiac and 105 noncardiac surgery) met the entry criteria (systolic BP ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥95 mm Hg) and were randomized (3:2) to receive IV nicardipine (n=71) or placebo (n=51). Therapeutic response (≥15 percent reduction in BP from baseline) was achieved in 94 percent of patients treated with IV nicardipine vs 12 percent with placebo (p<0.001). The mean response time and infusion rate for IV nicardipine were 11.5 (±0.8) minutes and 12.8 (±0.3) mg/h, respectively. The magnitude of BP reduction was similar in both cardiac and noncardiac postsurgical patients. Blood pressure control was sustained with minimal dose adjustments of IV nicardipine (3.0±0.2 mg/h) during a prolonged maintenance infusion period of 6.8±0.5 h. A reflex mean increase in heart rate of 5 bpm was seen in patients treated with IV nicardipine. Sixteen patients (15 noncardiac and one cardiac surgery) had a sustained heart rate of >100 bpm, with a mean increase of 24 bpm from the baseline. In all these patients except three, tachycardia was resolved while receiving nicardipine. None of these patients who had development of tachycardia during nicardipine therapy had exhibited ST segment changes indicative of ischemia. One patient with tachycardia at baseline had exhibited ST segment depression (3 to 4 mm) during nicardipine treatment, which was resolved following discontinuation of nicardipine therapy and application of nitroglycerin (Nitropaste). Hemodynamic evaluation revealed that IV nicardipine significantly decreased mean arterial pressure, systemic vascular resistance, and significantly increased cardiac index with no change in heart rate. These hemodynamic changes were similar in cardiac and noncardiac surgical patients. Adverse experiences reported with IV nicardipine included hypotension (4.5 percent), tachycardia (2.7 percent), and nausea/vomiting (4.5 percent). In the placebo group, the incidence of adverse experience was 6 percent, with an equal distribution of hypotension (2 percent), nausea/vomiting (2 percent), and headache (2 percent). No clinically important changes in laboratory variables related to IV nicardipine were reported. In conclusion, these findings indicate that nicardipine, a titratable intravenous calcium channel blocker, can rapidly and effectively control postoperative hypertension in cardiac and noncardiac surgical patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-398
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


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