Features June 2009 Issue

What You Need to Know About Nitroglycerin

This medication reduces the workload on the heart in order to relieve angina.

Nitroglycerin is one of a class of drugs called nitrates, and is the most commonly prescribed drug for chronic angina, the chest pain that accompanies coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common type of heart disease. In CAD, a fatty deposit called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, causing them to become narrowed and stiff and reducing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. This results in angina, and although it isnít a heart attack it can be a sign that youíre at risk of one. Nitroglycerin works as a vasodilatoróa drug that relaxes the blood vessels, enabling them to expand. This reduces the pumping force the heart has to exert to circulate blood through the body, thereby relieving the pain of angina.

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Heart Advisor

Get the next year of HEART ADVISOR for just $20. That's a savings of $19 off the regular rate.

With your paid subscription you will receive unlimited access to all of our online content. That is over a decade of previous issues from Cleveland Clinic, the hospital rated #1 in cardiac care by U.S. News & World Report - free of charge.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.