Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Coronary Circulation and the Role of Nitroglycerin

  • Bertram Pitt
Part of the Handbuch der experimentellen Pharmakologie / Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 40)


Under normal circumstances there is a balance between myocardial oxygen supply and demand. A schematic illustration of current concepts of this relationship is shown in Fig. 1. In the presence of a normal coronary circulation any increase in oxygen demands is met by a concomitant increase in oxygen delivery. If, however, oxygen demands should exceed delivery ischemia results. The factors controlling oxygen demand have been recently reviewed [1] and will not be discussed further. Oxygen delivery is dependent upon the extraction of oxygen across the myocardium and coronary blood flow. Since oxygen extraction is near maximal in the myocardium, any major increase in oxygen demands must be met by an increase in coronary blood flow.


Coronary Flow Coronary Blood Flow Collateral Vessel Reactive Hyperemia Coronary Circulation 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1975

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  • Bertram Pitt

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