Vasoconstriction

Definition

Vasoconstriction is the narrowing (constriction) of blood vessels by small muscles in their walls. When blood vessels constrict, blood flood is slowed or blocked.

Vasoconstriction may be slight or severe. It may result from disease, drugs, or psychological conditions. Medications that cause vasoconstriction include:

  • Decongestants, including pseudoephedrine
  • Cough and cold combinations
  • Caffeine

Medications may be used to increase or reduce vasoconstriction in very ill patients.

Review date:
September 11, 2013
Reviewed by:
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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