Ace Inhibitors – Pharmacology for Nurses
Ace Inhibitors are also known as Angiotensin-converting enzyme is used to treat conditions such as:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart failure (CHF)
- Heart Attacks (MI)
- Some Chronic renal failures
For exam questions on Ace inhibitors, remember that it is used to:
- lower the blood pressure
- Increase cardiac output by dilating vessels
- Reduce afterload
Ace inhibitors relax blood vessels by preventing an enzyme in the patients body from producing a substance called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II affects the cardiovascular system by narrowing blood vessels and releasing hormones that increase blood pressure. The narrowing of the blood vessels causes hypertension and this makes the cardiac muscle (heart) work harder. Therefore, Ace inhibitors stop the constriction of the blood vessels, lowering the blood pressure and decreases the workload of the heart.
It is important to note that angiotensin II can also promote growth in a negative way, meaning that it can increase the size or thickness of cardiovascular structures that can lead to hypertrophy of the heart.
Here is a podcast regarding Ace Inhibitors:
Names of Ace Inhibitors
Ace inhibitors have a generic name that end with the suffix “Pril”.
Side Effects for Ace Inhibitors – Mnemonic
C – Cough (dry hacking)
A – Anaphylaxis/Angioedama
P – Palpitations
T – Taste (altered taste sensation)
O – Orthostatic Hypotension
P – Potassium Elevation (Hyperkalemia)
R – Renal Impairment/Rash
I – Impotence
L – Leukocytosis/Lithium levels may increase
It is important to note that Ace inhibitors can cause birth defects and should not be prescribed to a pregnant patient or a patient who is planning on becoming pregnant. Ace inhibitors must also be used with caution in patients with renal stenosis.
Please follow your facilities medication administration guidelines. The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be nursing education and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your facilities policies and procedures for current protocols.