Verapamil improves exercise tolerance and decreases symptoms in many patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The mechanisms responsible for these effects are not completely understood, although previous studies indicate that verapamil enhances left ventricular relaxation and diastolic filling in such patients. To investigate the association between changes in left ventricular filling and exercise tolerance afer verapamil, we studied 55 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy by radionuclide angiography and graded treadmill testing before and after 1 to 4 weeks of therapy with orally administered verapamil, 320 to 640 mg/d. The verapamil-induced increase in peak left ventricular filling rate at rest (from 3.1 ± 1.3 to 3.7 ± 1.3 end-diastolic volumes/sec; p < .001) was associated with an increase in exercise tolerance (fom 5.9 ± 3.6 to 8.7 ± 4.7; p < .001); exercise capacity increased in 34 of 43 patients (79%) manifesting an increase in peak filling rate but only one of 12 patients (8%) with unchanged or decreased peak filling rate (p < .001). This initial trend persisted in 25 patients studied after 1 year of therapy; 11 of 16 patients (69%) with a persistent increase in peak filling rate had persistent improvement in exercise tolerance relative to preverapamil values, compared with only one of nine patients (11%) in whom peak filling rate was unchanged or decreased relative to preverapamil levels (p < .02). Verapamil withdrawal after 1 to 2 years in 24 patients resulted in reduction in peak filling rate (p < .001) and was associated with deterioration in exercise tolerance in 17 patients (71%). Hence, verapamil-induced changes in left ventricular peak filling rate were associated significantly with objective symptomatic improvement. These data support the concept that enhanced left ventricular diastolic filling is an important mechanism contributing to the clinical improvement experienced by many patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy during therapy with verapamil.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)