Impaired β 2 -adrenergic endothelium-dependent vasodilation in patients previously hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019

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AIM: The pulse wave response to salbutamol (PWRS) - change in augmentation index (AIx) - provides a means to assess endothelial vasodilator function in vivo . Endothelial dysfunction plays a relevant role in the pathogenesis of hypertension and cardiovascular disease and appears to underlie many of the complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, to what degree this persists after recovery is unknown.

METHODS: Individuals previously hospitalized with COVID-19, those recovered from mild symptoms and seronegative controls with well known risk factors for endothelial dysfunction were studied. To assess the involvement of nitric oxide-cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathway (NO-cGMP) on PWRS, sildenafil was also administrated in a subsample.

RESULTS: One hundred and one participants (60 men) aged 47.8 ± 14.1 (mean ± SD) years of whom 33 were previously hospitalized with COVID-19 were recruited. Salbutamol had minimal effect on haemodynamics including blood pressure and heart rate. It reduced AIx in controls ( n  = 34) and those recovered from mild symptoms of COVID-19 ( n  = 34) but produced an increase in AIx in those previously hospitalized: mean change [95% confidence interval] -2.85 [-5.52, -0.188] %, -2.32 [-5.17,0.54] %, and 3.03 [0.06, 6.00] % for controls, those recovered from mild symptoms and those previously hospitalized, respectively ( P  = 0.001). In a sub-sample ( n  = 22), sildenafil enhanced PWRS (change in AIx 0.05 [-2.15,2.24] vs. -3.96 [-7.01. -2.18], P  = 0.006) with no significant difference between hospitalized ( n  = 12) and nonhospitalized participants ( n  = 10).

CONCLUSIONS: In patients previously hospitalized with COVID-19, there is long-lasting impairment of endothelial function as measured by the salbutamol-induced stimulation of the NO-cGMP pathway that may contribute to cardiovascular complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-957
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of hypertension
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • Male
  • Humans
  • Vasodilation
  • Sildenafil Citrate/pharmacology
  • Adrenergic Agents/pharmacology
  • Endothelium, Vascular
  • COVID-19/complications
  • Vasodilator Agents/pharmacology
  • Albuterol/pharmacology
  • Hypertension

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