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Heart medication reduces risk of premature birth and high blood pressure – healing practice



Pentaerythrityl tetranitrate reduces the risk of preterm labor

pentaerythrityl tetranitrate (PETN) promotes blood flow to the heart muscle and is used, among other things, in the treatment of coronary heart disease. Researchers now report that heart medication the risk for premature births and high blood pressure in the pregnancy lowers.

According to a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study at Jena University Hospital, the first interventional study of its kind in obstetrics in Germany, PETN reduces the risk of preterm labor and high blood pressure during the pregnancy. The results of the study were published in the journal “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology“published.

risk of shortage

As in a Message from the University Hospital of Jena, Doppler ultrasound measurement in the middle of pregnancy shows in approximately one in twenty pregnant women that the uterus and placenta are not sufficiently supplied with blood.

Then there is a risk that the unborn child will not be properly supported by the mother’s body and will not develop in time. In the worst case, the child may be in the womb before birth die.

“Pregnancy means vascular stresssays Professor Dr. Tanja Groten of the University Hospital of Jena. “The placenta produces activating substances that expose the maternal vessels to oxidative stress”explains the obstetrician.

If the vessels cannot compensate for the stress, it can lead to high blood pressure or even pre-eclampsia in the mother, also called pregnancy poisoning named. In this situation, the baby is threatened with a lack of supply in the womb.

Used for heart problems for decades

In the present study, a research team led by Tanja Groten tested whether the vascular protective effect of pentaerythrityltetranitrate (PETN) undersupply of the unborn child can prevent.

The active ingredient PETN, which has been used for decades to treat heart problems and hypertension, is broken down in the body into nitric oxide, a body messenger substance, which dilates the vessels and therefore the blood flow improved.

At the same time, the agent has the special property that protection mechanisms to strengthen the inner wall of the vessel. In a pilot study a few years ago, PETN had a demonstrable positive effect on the care situation of the unborn child.

The primary focus of the study, which involved more than 300 women with an abnormal Doppler result at 14 study centers, was on children growth retardationmeasured by significant low birth weight or the number of dead babies in the womb.

Significant advantages in terms of prematurity

The results in the group of patients who received the drug were each better than in the placebo group, but the differences were not statistically significant.

Clearer advantages have been demonstrated compared to prematurity and maternal blood pressure: while nearly two-thirds of babies in the PETN group were born at term, more than half were born prematurely in the placebo group.

More than 36% of mothers in the placebo group developed high blood pressure, and almost one in three developed preeclampsia. Of the women who had received the active substance, just under 24% suffered from high blood pressure and around one in five suffered from it. pre-eclampsia.

Safe for mothers and children

“We were able to show that the use of PETN secured is for mothers and for children”says Tanja Groten, head of the study.

“Even if the study result is not sufficient for a clear recommendation, PETN should be used as a treatment for patients at significantly increased risk of inadequate care for the unborn child. secondary prophylaxis to be considered.”

The less clear effect against undersupply compared to the previous study could be due to taking aspirin (ASA). ASA is recommended in patients at risk for placental dysfunction to prevent pre-eclampsia. 30 percent of the women in the study collective AS taken.

Accordingly, the effect of PETN might have been less pronounced and a larger group of pregnant women would have had to be treated to obtain a statistically significant result. effect reach.

Long-term positive effects

According to reports, the positive effects of PETN do not stop at birth – initial follow-up examinations of children in the study cohort at 12 months of age indicate that children will also benefit from the treatment in the long term preventive therapy benefit to.

The longer development time in the womb and the higher birth weight improve the starting conditions in life. In mothers who suffered from high blood pressure or even preeclampsia during pregnancy, the risk of cardiovascular disease is significantly higher. Groten has set up a specialist follow-up consultation for them.

“Of the long-term studies from the patients in our study, we also expect important information on the influence of pregnancy on vascular aging. A follow-up examination of mothers 15 years after the pilot study has already shown positive effects in mothers who took PETN during pregnancy. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


  • Jena University Hospital: PETN reduces the risk of preterm labor and high blood pressure during pregnancy (accessed November 16, 2022), Jena University Hospital
  • Groten T, et al. : Effect of pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) on the development of fetal growth restriction in pregnancies with impaired uteroplacental perfusion at midgestation – a randomized trial; in: American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, (published: 2022-08-02), American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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