Progress in cardioprotection: The role of calcium antagonists

Robert A. Kloner, Karin Przyklenk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Calcium antagonists are now widely used for the treatment of clinical hypertension and angina pectoris. They are efficacious for the treatment of vasospastic, fixed atherosclerotic and mixed angina; they reduce the incidence of silent ischemia; and they have been shown to reduce postmyocardial infarct angina. Experimental data suggest that they may have certain cardioprotective properties in cases of acute myocardial ischemia and infarction, stunned myocardium, diastolic dysfunction, left ventricular hypertrophy and atherosclerosis. Moreover, they have been shown to improve exercise performance, as well as the diastolic abnormalities in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In animals, they may delay or reduce the extent of myocardial necrosis after coronary occlusion or coronary occlusion followed by reperfusion, and in low doses that do not alter the hemodynamic profile, they have been shown to enhance the return of ventricular function in animals with stunned myocardium. However, the early first-generation calcium antagonists (nifedipine, verapamil, diltiazem) have not been shown to reduce myocardial infarct size or to enhance survival in patients with acute myocardial infarction. There now are clinical studies that suggest that, unlike β blockers or nitrates, nifedipine may slow the development of atherosclerotic progression in humans over a 2-year period, and it seems likely that in the 1990s there will be further expansion of the use of calcium antagonists for not only angina and hypertension but also for aspects of cardioprotection. That calcium antagonists may delay, prevent or possibly regress atherosclerotic lesions is an exciting possibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2-H9
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Nov 20 1990


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