Abstract Title:

Effects of acute L-arginine infusion on non-stress test in hypertensive pregnant women.

Abstract Source:

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2004 Jul;16(1):23-6. PMID: 15370078

Abstract Author(s):

I Neri, I Blasi, F Facchinetti

Article Affiliation:

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.


OBJECTIVE: The present report evaluates the effect of acute L-arginine administration on fetal heart variables by a computerized non-stress test (NST) analysis.

METHODS: Fifteen pregnant women at 30-34 weeks of gestational age affected by mild to moderate gestational hypertension were enrolled in the study. The study was performed in the second and third days of hospitalization. Each woman received both active (Arg) or placebo treatment (Placebo), in a double-blind, randomized, cross-over design. Women received saline infusion for 40 min, then they were infused with either placebo (saline infusion prepared by Damor Pharmaceutics and labeled as Arg-B) or Arg (L-Arg 20 g/500 ml labeled as Arg-A).

RESULTS: Multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) indicated that both placebo and Arg infusion were unable to affect cardiac variables and fetal movements. As far as maternal blood pressure changes were concerned, MANOVA indicated that active treatment showed an acute hypotensive effect on both systolic (F=8.98, p<0.001) and diastolic values (F=15.78, p>0.001). Conversely, placebo infusion does not seems to have induced any change. Considering each time of infusion we observed that Arg treatment was able to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure after the 40 min of infusion, with this effect persisting for 20 min.

CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that the acute, intravenous administration of high-dose L-arginine does not induce significant changes in fetal heart rate (FHR), whereas it lowers maternal blood pressure. Such conclusions are reinforced by the observation that saline administration in the same pregnant women was neutral for both FHR and maternal blood pressure values. According to previous studies, it seems conceivable that maternal L-arginine treatment enters the fetal circulation by crossing the placenta. The lack of changes in FHR, however, suggests that no significant hemodynamic changes were induced by the treatment. Contrary to what happens in the mother, this may possibly be due to a low, if any, conversion of L-arginine to nitric oxide in the fetus.

Study Type : Human Study

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