Vasodilators are used with caution in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We have developed a device for percutaneous arteriovenous shunt creation in the iliac region to increase cardiac output and oxygen delivery for patients with COPD. Although this device does not cause significant blood pressure changes in normotensive patients with COPD, we hypothesized that arteriovenous shunt creation might cause vasodilator effects in hypertensive patients because of a reduction in vascular resistance. Twenty-four patients with COPD and hypertension enrolled in an open label study of arteriovenous shunt creation for COPD. We performed cardiac catheterization at baseline and again 3 to 6 months after the procedure. As a safety measure we also recorded office blood pressure at baseline and again after 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. The procedure increased oxygen delivery (1.1-1.4 L.min(-1)) and cardiac output (6-8.2 L.min(-1)) (P < .001) and lowered both the systemic vascular resistance (P < .001) and the pulmonary vascular resistance (P < .01). After 12 months, however, the average systolic blood pressure was reduced from 145 to 132 mm Hg (P < .0001), and the average diastolic blood pressure was reduced from 86 to 67 mm Hg (P < .0001). Percutaneous iliac arteriovenous fistula creation for COPD causes a significant and persistent lowering of blood pressure in patients with co-existing hypertension.
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