AIMS - To examine the hypothesis that sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor that inhibits cGMP breakdown, could enhance nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation and reverse endothelial dysfunction in chronic smokers.
METHODS - Flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery and forearm postischemic reactive hyperemia (both nitric oxide-mediated responses) were measured before and after sildenafil 50 mg and placebo in a double-blind, randomized, crossover study in 9 men who were chronic smokers (21 +/- 3 pack years).
RESULTS - There was no significant change in flow-mediated dilation after either sildenafil (0.18%, 95%CI -1.7-2%) or placebo (0.24%, 95%CI -2.8-3.3%) (P = 0.88 and 0.8, respectively). Sildenafil had no significant effect on resting forearm blood flow or postischemic reactive hyperemia (P = 0.39 and 0.7, respectively). Resting heart rate and blood pressure were unaffected by sildenafil.
CONCLUSIONS - Acute sildenafil administration did not improve endothelial function in chronic smoking men.