The cerebral and cardiac effects of Norepinephrine in an experimental cardiac arrest model

Deborah Jaeger, Marinos Kosmopoulos, Christopher Gaisendrees, Rajat Kalra, Alexandra Marquez, Tahar Chouihed, Kevin Duarte, Demetris Yannopoulos

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Introduction: Epinephrine has been the main drug recommended for decades during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). But epinephrine's ß-adrenergic effects might increase myocardial oxygen consumption and may cause arrythmias after ROSC. Norepinephrine has a weaker ß-adrenergic effect and could be useful during CPR. Studies on norepinephrine's effect on hemodynamic parameters and cerebral perfusion are scarce. This study aimed to assess norepinephrine's hemodynamic impact in an experimental model of cardiac arrest. Methods: After an initial dose study to determine the optimal dose, we conducted a prospective randomized study with 19 pigs. After 3 minutes of untreated ventricular fibrillation, animals received boluses of 0.5 mg Epinephrine (EPI) or 1 mg Norepinephrine (NE) every 5 minutes during CPR. Coronary perfusion pressure (CPP), carotid blood flow (CBF) and cerebral perfusion pressure (CePP) were evaluated. Results: At baseline, hemodynamic parameters did not differ between the two groups. During CPR, CPP and CBF were similar: 17.3 (12.8; 31.8) in the EPI group vs 16.0 (11.1; 37.7) in the NE group, p = 0.9 and 28.4 (22.0; 54.8) vs 30.8 (12.2; 56.3) respectively, p = 0.9. CePP was not significantly lower during resuscitation in the NE group compared to the EPI group: 12.2 (−8.2; 42.2) vs 7.8 (−2.0; 32.0) p = 0.4. Survival rate was low with only one animal in the EPI group and 2 in the NE group. Conclusion: Cerebral perfusion pressure, coronary perfusion pressure and carotid blood flow during CPR did not significantly differ between the norepinephrine group and the epinephrine group. Further investigations should evaluate different options such as a continuous NE infusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100619
JournalResuscitation Plus
StatePublished - Jun 2024

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  • Cardiac arrest
  • Norepinephrine
  • Resuscitation
  • Vasopressor


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