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A 34-year-old member asked:

how does nitroglycerin work to relieve chest pain?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Milunski
Cardiology 37 years experience
Nitroglycerin: Nitroglycerin relieves cardiac related chest pain by dilating the coronary arteries. These are the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Improving blood flow to heart muscle will relieve the discomfort caused by a partial blockage of the blood vessel with plaque.
Dr. Gutti Rao
Dr. Gutti Rao answered
Hospital-based practice 46 years experience
Ntg: Nitroglycerine opens the blood vessels of the heart, improving oxygenation thus relieving chest pain.
Dr. Milton Alvis, jr
Preventive Medicine 41 years experience
↓es heart workload!: Nitric Oxide, long called Endothelial Relaxing Factor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitric_oxide & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyceryl_trinitrate) mostly relaxes veins, thus ↓ing blood return to both right & left heart, less so arteries, ↓ing heart work load & may relax heart artery spasm at narrowing: ↑ing blood flow to heart muscle with ↓blood flow from which pressure/discomfort is perceived.
Dr. Milton Alvis, jr
Preventive Medicine 41 years experience
Provided original answer
Nitroglycerin relaxes smooth muscles in general, not just in arteries & veins. This includes muscle cells of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, gall bladder & bronchioles, Thus if works to reduce symptoms, this does Not prove heart pain, but includes several other possibilities. However, if chest pressure not relieved by nitroglycerin, esp. repeated, fairly good evidence not heart ischemic pain.
May 14, 2014

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