Hakan Erkan, Gülhanım Kırış, Levent Korkmaz, İsmail Gökhan Çavuşoğlu, Şükrü Çeli̇k

Keywords: Nitrates, headache, atherosclerosis


Introduction: Nitrates, which lead to vasodilation in vessels, is one of the cornerstone drugs of antianginal therapy. The most frequently encountered side effect of nitrates is headache, which is linked to vasodilation of the cerebral arteries. Vasodilator response to nitrates is significantly reduced in patients with atherosclerosis. The aim of present study was to assess the relationship between nitrate-induced headache (NIH) and systemic and coronary atherosclerotic burden in patients with stable coronary artery disease. Patients and Methods: Overall, 40 patients with NIH (group I: 61.2 ± 8.56 years, 32 males) and 62 patients without headache (group II: 63.5 ± 8.45 years, 41 males) were included in the study. Systemic atherosclerotic burden was evaluated by carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI). Coronary atherosclerotic burden was assessed by the Gensini score. Results: CIMT and CAVI were significantly greater in group II than in group I (0.8 ± 0.20 vs. 0.6 ± 0.20 and 9.5 ± 1.0 vs. 8.4 ± 1.2, respectively; p< 0.001). The Gensini score was also higher in group II than in group I [median 32 (16.7-45.2) vs 12.5 (5.2-19.2); p< 0.001]. In multivariate analysis, headache was found as an independent determinant of CIMT, CAVI, and Gensini score (p< 0.001). Conclusion: Patients with NIH had a low level systemic and coronary atherosclerotic burden, evaluated by CIMT, CAVI, and Gensini score, compared with those without NIH.