Clinical Note

Although cardiac glycosides greatly increase the force of contraction of the heart and over the short-term reverse the symptoms of heart failure, they do not prolong life and therefore their use is decreasing. Interestingly cardiac glycosides have been largely replaced by beta-blockers which block the beta-adrenergic receptors for the treatment of heart failure. By making the heart work less it seems to actually reduce the factors that cause the failing condition.

cells, including those in the heart, and are therefore potent poisons. The key strategy in their use is to carefully adjust the dose so that only a partial block of the Na+-K+ pump occurs. When this is done, cardiac glycosides lead to enhanced contractility of the heart by the following mechanism. Due to decreased activity of the Na+-K+ pump, the intracellular concentration of Na+ in cardiac cells increases, decreasing the driving force for Na+ to enter the cell. Because the Na+ gradient is the energy source for the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger, the latter will remove less Ca2+ from the cell. Intracellular levels of Ca2+ will increase, with more Ca2+ available to be pumped into the SR.

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Get Rid of Gallstones Naturally

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