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Acute myocardial ischemia results from an increased cardiac workload in presence of a critical coronary stenosis (demand ischemia), coronary occlusion (supply ischemia) or a combination of both. It is complicated by cardiac arrhythmias and deterioration of function of ischemic myocardium and results in an increased load and dilatation of non-ischemic myocardium. Cardiac protection in acute myocardial ischemia can be related to preservation of coronary blood flow, function of ischemic and non-ischemic myocardium or prevention of cardiac arrhythmias. In control animals and humans, ACE-inhibitors have no major effect on coronary blood flow. Myocardial ischemia raises plasma-renin-activity, angiotensin I-conversion by passage through coronary circulation, and plasma-angiotensin-II-concentrations. ACE-inhibitors and angiotensin-II-receptor blockers increase coronary blood flow during myocardial ischemia. Other mechanisms (bradykinin potentiation) may be involved. We found a potentiation of the coronary dilatory effect of the neuropeptide neurotensin (which is probably mediated by prostaglandins) by ACE-inhibitor. ACE-inhibitor may delay infarct development in animal experiments and improve function of ischemic myocardium. The importance of early dilatation of non-ischemic myocardium is unknown and it is unclear whether it may be prevented by an ACE-inhibitor as was shown for late dilatation. Studies on the effect of ACE-inhibitors in exercise-induced angina pectoris are controversial. An antiischemic and coronary dilatory effect has been shown by invasive studies in patients. A preliminary study in unstable angina pectoris was positive. Beneficial hemodynamic and antiarrhythmic effects (as well as excessive hypotension, however) have been shown in patients with acute myocardial infarction.


Journal article


Klin Wochenschr

Publication Date



69 Suppl 24


10 - 17


Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors, Animals, Coronary Circulation, Coronary Disease, Hemodynamics, Humans, Myocardial Infarction