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Kemming, Gregor; Habler, Oliver; Kleen, Martin; Kisch-Wedel, Hille; Welte, M.; Zwissler, Bernhard (2002): Searching the ideal inhaled vasodilator: From nitric oxide to prostacyclin. In: European Surgical Research, No. 1-2: pp. 196-202


Today, the technique to directly administer vasodilators via the airway to treat pulmonary hypertension and to improve pulmonary gas exchange is widely accepted among clinicians. The flood of scientific work focussing on this new therapeutic concept had been initiated by a fundamental new observation by Pepke-Zaba {[}1] and Frostell in 1991 {[}2]: Both scientists reported, that inhalation of exogenous nitric oxide (NO) gas selectively dilates pulmonary vessels without a concomittant systemic vasodilation. No more than another decade ago NO was identified as an important endogenous vasodilator {[}3] while having merely been regarded an environmental pollutant before that time. Although inhaled NO proved to be efficacious, alternatives were sought-after due to NO's potential side-effects. In search for the ideal inhaled vasodilator another group of endogenous mediators - the prostanoids - came into the focus of interest. The evidence for safety and efficacy of inhaled prostanoids is - among a lot of other valuable work - based on a series of experimental and clinical investigations that have been performed or designed at the Institute for Surgical Research under the guidance and mentorship of Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult. K. Messmer {[}4-19]. In the following, the current and newly emerging clinical applications of inhaled prostanoids and the experimental data which they are based on, will be reviewed. Copyright (C) 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel.