We designed our study to investigate the efficacy of a new therapeutic approach to late onset hypertension in patients after surgical repair of aortic coarctation. Several studies have shown a higher incidence of hypertension during daily activities, and during exercise, in patients after surgical correction of coarctation. To the best of our knowledge, however, no data exists concerning haemodynamics, the response of arterial pressures, and the effects of medications for lowering blood pressure during exercise or during daily activities.
We studied 128 patients, aged 15.6 ± 4.3 years, to determine the response of blood pressure as we administered treatment in the attempt to achieve a normotensive state. We excluded patient with associated cardiac abnormalities, apart from those with bicuspid aortic valves. We evaluated blood pressure at rest in both the right arm and leg to establish presence of any gradient, as well as the blood pressure in the arm during exercise testing, and by 24-hour ambulatory monitoring.
Atenolol was prescribed for those with elevated values of blood pressure but with a normal increment of heart rate during exercise. We prescribed Candesartan for those with elevated levels of blood pressure but with reduced increments of heart rate, specifically maximal heart rates of less than 85% of their predicted value. Both drugs were used when one alone was not effective. We found that, in young patients, candesartan provided better control of blood pressure with no side-effects, especially as demonstrated using 24-hour ambulatory monitoring, while atenolol was less effective, with more side-effects. Our experience suggests that both drugs should be used in patients who are non-responsive to monotherapy.