Diffusing capacity of the lung and nifedipine in systemic sclerosis

Authors

  • Petros P. Sfikakis MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Predoctoral Candidate, Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens, and Cardiac Department, Hippokration Hospital
    2. First Department of Propedeutic Medicine (Laiko General Hospital) and the Cardiac Department (Hippokration Hospital), Athens University School of Medicine, and the Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece.
    • Laiko General Hospital, First Department of Propedeutic Medicine, 17, Ag. Thoma str., Goudi 11527, Athens, Greece
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  • Michael Kyriakidis MD,

    1. Assistant Professor of Cardiology, Cardiac Department, Hippokration Hospital
    2. First Department of Propedeutic Medicine (Laiko General Hospital) and the Cardiac Department (Hippokration Hospital), Athens University School of Medicine, and the Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece.
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  • Constantine Vergos MD,

    1. Head, Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens
    2. First Department of Propedeutic Medicine (Laiko General Hospital) and the Cardiac Department (Hippokration Hospital), Athens University School of Medicine, and the Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece.
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  • Sotirios Papazoglou MD,

    1. Senior Registrar, Cardiac Department, Hippokration Hospital
    2. First Department of Propedeutic Medicine (Laiko General Hospital) and the Cardiac Department (Hippokration Hospital), Athens University School of Medicine, and the Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece.
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  • Fotis Georgiakodis PhD,

    1. Biostatistics, First Department of Propedeutic Medicine, Laiko General Hospital
    2. First Department of Propedeutic Medicine (Laiko General Hospital) and the Cardiac Department (Hippokration Hospital), Athens University School of Medicine, and the Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece.
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  • Pavlos Toutouzas MD,

    1. Professor of Cardiology, Cardiac Department, Hippokration Hospital
    2. First Department of Propedeutic Medicine (Laiko General Hospital) and the Cardiac Department (Hippokration Hospital), Athens University School of Medicine, and the Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece.
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  • Paul Sfikakis MD

    1. Professor of Medicine, First Department of Propedeutic Medicine, Laiko General Hospital
    2. First Department of Propedeutic Medicine (Laiko General Hospital) and the Cardiac Department (Hippokration Hospital), Athens University School of Medicine, and the Chest Unit, Naval Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece.
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Abstract

Lung involvement in systemic sclerosis may be due in part to a functional abnormality of the pulmonary vasculature. To investigate the possible role of a pulmonary vasospastic process in this disorder, 21 non-smoking patients who had no evidence of cardiac disease or pulmonary hypertension were evaluated with pulmonary function tests prior to administration of nifedipine, 30 minutes after a single oral dose of nifedipine (20 mg), and after 4 weeks of treatment with nifedipine (10 mg 3 times daily). Treatment with nifedipine did not significantly change any of the pulmonary function values, except for the carbon monoxide diffusing capacity (DLCO). The linear trend between the individual DLCO values at baseline and their changes immediately following the initial 20-mg dose of nifedipine (r = −0.603, P = 0.02) and after 4 weeks of treatment (r = −0.636, P = 0.01) showed that the lower the DLCO value at baseline, the greater the improvement caused by nifedipine. These findings support the hypothesis of a potentially reversible pulmonary vasospasm in systemic sclerosis and suggest that nifedipine may be useful in the treatment of lung disease in these patients; however, further studies are needed.

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