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Vasoconstriction

Definition

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

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

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

Medicines may be used to increase or reduce vasoconstriction in very ill people.

References

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company; 2017. www.tabers.com/tabersonline/. Accessed January 27, 2017.


Review Date: 1/26/2017
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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