Vasodilators for congenital heart defects

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Vasodilators for congenital heart defects


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How It Works

Vasodilators relax the muscle around blood vessels. This allows blood vessels to expand, letting blood flow more easily through the vessels.

Why It Is Used

Children with congenital heart defects often have heart failure. Vasodilator medicines decrease blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow through the vessels.

How Well It Works

Vasodilators are effective in relaxing the blood vessels, which allows blood to get to the tissues of the body more easily.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of vasodilator medicines include:

  • Headache.
  • Dizziness (light-headedness) caused by low blood pressure.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Do not give two vasodilator medicines at the same time if both have a side effect of lowering blood pressure. Space them out so that 1 to 2 hours go by before giving the next medicine.

It is important to give vasodilator medicines around the clock. The blood levels of these medicines must remain constant for the medicines to work best.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised January 26, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.