Hypertension has long intrigued physicians. Arteriosclerosis, a condition commonly associated with hypertension, has been extensively and profitably studied both clinically and pathologically. Histologic studies of patients with hypertension, however, have yielded but little information concerning the mechanism of this malady. The few anatomic changes that do occur are usually ascribed to the changes secondary to elevation of the blood pressure. It might be better to consider hypertension as a kinetic or an altered physiologic expression of a diseased condition. Experiments illustrating altered or abnormal responses to a known or standard stimulus might then give some insight into this changed vascular state.
Following this line of reasoning, studies were begun. First a standard procedure or test was necessary. The amyl nitrite test of Stieglitz1 appeared to fulfil the requirements, and it was tried. A small pearl of amyl nitrite (0.3 cc.) was crushed in a towel and held directly under
LUETH HC, HANKS TG. UNUSUAL REACTIONS OF PATIENTS WITH HYPERTENSION TO GLYCERYL TRINITRATE. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1938;62(1):97–108. doi:10.1001/archinte.1938.00180120105002