Terlipressin in catecholamine-resistant septic shock patients

Marc Leone, Jacques Albanèse, Anne Delmas, Wajdi Chaabane, Franck Garnier, Claude Martin
Shock 2004, 22 (4): 314-9
To determine the effects on hemodynamics, laboratory parameters, and renal function of terlipressin used in septic-shock patients with hypotension not responsive to high-dose norepinephrine (>2.0 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1)) and dopamine (25 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1)), a prospective, open-label study was carried out in 17 patients. Patients received one or two boluses of 1 mg of terlipressin. In all patients terlipressin induced a significant increase in mean arterial pressure (MAP), systemic vascular resistance, pulmonary vascular resistance, and left and right ventricular stroke work. The increase in MAP was accompanied by a significant decrease in heart rate and cardiac index, but stroke volume remained unchanged. Oxygen delivery and consumption were significantly decreased. Blood lactate concentrations significantly decreased over the study period. Bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were significantly increased. Thrombocytes were significantly decreased. No change in prothrombin time was observed. Renal function, assessed by urine flow and creatinine clearance, was significantly improved. Pulmonary function assessed by Pao2/Fio2 ratio was not affected. A significant reduction in norepinephrine and dopamine infusion rates was observed in all patients. Eight patients died during their ICU stay from late multiple organ failure. Within the limitations of the present study (open-label design, small group of patients), it can be concluded that in septic shock patients with hypotension nonresponsive to fluid resuscitation and high-dose vasopressors, terlipressin can be effective to restore MAP. Cardiac index should be closely monitored because it was significantly decreased by terlipressin. Renal function was significantly improved. Mesenteric circulation was not evaluated, but hepatic function was altered during the study period. Further studies are required to determine whether terlipressin is safe in terms of outcome in septic shock patients.

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