Comparison of efficacy and safety of intracoronary sodium nitroprusside and intravenous adenosine for assessing fractional flow reserve


  • Conflicts of interest: Nothing to report.

Correspondence to: Wojciech Rudzinski, MD, PhD, Division of Cardiology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, 185 South Orange Avenue, MSB I-536, Newark, NJ 07103. E-mail:



The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of intracoronary (IC) nitroprusside and intravenous adenosine (IVA) for assessing fractional flow reserve (FFR).


IV infusion of adenosine is a standard method to achieve a coronary hyperemia for FFR measurement. However, adenosine is expensive, causes multiple side effects, and is contraindicated in patients with reactive airway disease. Sodium nitroprusside (NTP) is a strong coronary vasodilator but its efficacy and safety for assessing FFR is not well established.


We compared FFR response and side effects profile of IC NTP and IVA. Bolus of NTP at a dose of 100 μg and IVA (140 μg/kg/min) were used to achieve coronary hyperemia.


We evaluated 75 lesions in 53 patients (60% male) mean age 61.6 ± 13.9 years. Mean FFR after NTP was similar to FFR after adenosine (0.836 ± 0.107 vs. 0.856 ± 0.106; P = 0.26; r = 0.91, P < 0.001). NTP induced maximal stable hyperemia within 10 sec (mean: 6.4 ± 1) which lasted consistently between 38 and 60 sec (mean 51 ± 7.5). NTP caused significant (14%), but asymptomatic decrease in mean blood pressure which returned to baseline within 60 sec. Adenosine caused shortness of breath in 26%, headache and flushing in 19%, and transient second degree heart block in 6% of patients. No adverse symptoms were reported after NTP.


IC NTP is as effective as IVA for measuring FFR. NTP is better tolerated by patients. Since NTP is inexpensive, readily available, well tolerated, and safe, it may be a better choice for FFR assessment. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.