Ergonovine Maleate Test

Usage of Ergonovine Maleate Test

Aids in the diagnosis of coronary spasm during coronary arteriography, echocardiography, and electrophysiologic studies in clients with variant angina and no major occlusions of the coronary arteries.


Description of Ergonovine Maleate Test

Ergonovine maleate (Ergotrate) stimulates contractions of vascular smooth muscle. It is administered during the cardiac procedure to produce and evaluate the effects of the resulting coronary artery spasm. The IV initial phase half-life is 1–5 minutes. The terminal phase half-life is 0.5–2.0 hours. This drug is no longer commercially available in the United States.


Professional Considerations of Ergonovine Maleate Test

Consent form IS required.

Adverse drug effects may occur with ergonovine: nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headache, tinnitus, diaphoresis, palpitations, transient chest pain, dyspnea, thrombophlebitis, hematuria, water intoxication, nasal congestion, diarrhea, and allergic phenomena, including shock. Ergonovine-induced hypertension has been accompanied by headaches, severe dysrhythmias, seizures, and cerebrovascular accidents. Hypotension has also been reported. See also individual procedures for procedure-specific risks.
Contraindications or Precautions
Previous allergy to ergot, hypertension, pregnancy, toxemia, untreated hypocalcemia. Use ergonovine with extreme caution in the presence of renal or hepatic dysfunction, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, or sepsis. See also individual procedures for procedure-specific contraindications.



  1. See the listing for the procedure that is being performed.



  1. 0.1–0.4 mg of ergonovine maleate is given slowly intravenously with dilution.


Postprocedure Care

  1. See the specific procedure for postprocedure care.
  2. Observe for adverse drug effects (listed under Risks).


Client and Family Teaching

  1. Inform the client about the approximate time length of the procedure that will be used with ergonovine administration.


Factors That Affect Results

  1. None found.


Other Data

  1. Hypertension may occur if the client is given the IV dose too rapidly or without dilution or if ergonovine is used along with a regional anesthetic or vasoconstrictor.
  2. This drug is also used to stimulate contractions of the uterus to prevent and treat postpartum and postabortion hemorrhage caused by uterine atony.
  3. Ergonovine test is not necessary for diagnosis of coronary artery spasm if client's exercise test or thallium perfusion scan is negative. Use of 123I-MIBG SPECT scan is feasible under these circumstances.