Arginine vasopressin during cardiopulmonary resuscitation and vasodilatory shock: Current experience and future perspectives

Anette C. Krismer, Volker Wenzel, Viktoria D. Mayr, Wolfgang G. Voelckel, Hans U. Strohmenger, Keith Lurie, Karl H. Lindner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Epinephrine use during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is controversial because of its receptor-mediated adverse effects such as increased myocardial oxygen consumption, ventricular arrhythmias, ventilation-perfusion defect, postresuscitation myocardial dysfunction, ventricular arrhythmias, and cardiac failure. In the CPR laboratory, vasopressin improved vital organ blood flow, cerebral oxygen delivery, resuscitability, and neurologic recovery more than did epinephrine. In patients with out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation, a larger proportion of patients treated with vasopressin survived 24 hours than did patients treated with epinephrine. Currently, a large trial of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients being treated with vasopressin versus epinephrine is ongoing in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The new international CPR guidelines recommend 40 U vasopressin intravenously, and 1 mg epinephrine intravenously, as equally effective for the treatment of adult patients in ventricular fibrillation; however, no recommendation for vasopressin has been made to date for adult patients with asystole and pulseless electrical activity, or in children, because of lack of clinical data. When adrenergic vasopressors were unable to maintain arterial blood pressure in patients with vasodilatory shock, continuous infusions of vasopressin (0.04-0.10 U/min) stabilized cardiocirculatory parameters and even ensured weaning from catecholamines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Opinion in Critical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2001

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