Theophylline choline 600 mg was given as a single oral dose to nine patients in chronic left ventricular failure due to myocardial dysfunction. Cardiac output, left ventricular filling pressure (LVFP) and right atrial pressure (RAP) were measured with a pulmonary artery thermodilution catheter for the following 3 hr. Continuous recordings of cardiac rhythm were made throughout the study. Mean cardiac index increased from 1·75 (±0·14 s.e. mean) to 2·04 (±0·11) 1/min/m2 (P<0·02), mean LVFP fell from 27 (±2·4) to 22 (±1·5) mmHg (P<0·01), mean RAP fell from 5 (±1·3) to 3 (±2·0) mmHg (P<0·05) and mean systemic arterial pressure rose from 80 (±3) to 86 (±3·5) mmHg (P<0·05). There were no significant changes in heart rate or systemic vascular resistance; thus the increase in cardiac output was probably due to a positive inotropic effect. Side effects were seen in two patients, both of whom proved to have toxic plasma theophylline concentrations.
This study demonstrated a beneficial acute haemodynamic effect of oral theophylline in chronic cardiac failure.