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The pharmacologic action of nitroglycerin is erroneously conceived by some physicians. I have heard practitioners remark that "even the use of nitroglycerin and strychnin is ineffectual in causing a weakening circulation to recover." To understand the therapeutic indications for these two drugs in circulatory symptoms, a thorough knowledge of a portion of the physiology of the circulation is absolutely necessary.
The heart is a muscular organ which pumps the blood into the aorta at a rate which normally maintains the blood pressure constant, within certain narrow limits. The control of the heart's rate is automatic. The vagus and sympathetic nerves carry impulses to the heart; the former is the inhibitory nerve and the latter the accelerator. A small nerve running in the same sheath as the vagus, called the depressor, is the sensory nerve to the heart. The small blood vessels, the arterioles, have their caliber controlled by the vasomotor
BROWN OH. INDICATIONS FOR STRYCHNIN AND NITROGLYCERIN IN CIRCULATORY DISORDERS. JAMA. 1906;XLVI(2):116–117. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.62510290036001j
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