VASODILATORS represent the area in the treatment of both veterinary and human patients with heart failure which has most dramatically and fruitfully advanced in the past two decades. The treatment of hypertension in people and animals also frequently involves the administration of drugs which affect vascular tone. This article discusses the ways in which vascular tone is controlled, the role of the vasculature in the development and progression of heart failure, and how vascular tone may be modified to benefit patients with cardiac disease. The use of diuretics in the treatment of heart failure patients was discussed in an earlier article (Boswood 1996).
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