Terlipressin versus norepinephrine to counteract anesthesia-induced hypotension in patients treated with renin-angiotensin system inhibitors: effects on systemic and regional hemodynamics

Andrea Morelli, Luigi Tritapepe, Monica Rocco, Giorgio Conti, Alessandra Orecchioni, Andrea De Gaetano, Umberto Picchini, Paolo Pelaia, Carlo Reale, Paolo Pietropaoli
Anesthesiology 2005, 102 (1): 12-9

BACKGROUND: Terlipressin has been suggested as the ideal drug to treat anesthesia-induced hypotension in patients under long-term renin-angiotensin system inhibitor treatment for arterial hypertension. The authors compared the effects of terlipressin and norepinephrine on systemic hemodynamic parameters and gastric mucosal perfusion using a laser Doppler flowmetry technique in patients treated with renin-angiotensin system inhibitors who experienced hypotension at induction of anesthesia.

METHODS: Thirty-two patients scheduled for carotid endarterectomy under general anesthesia and treated with renin-angiotensin system inhibitors had hypotension after induction of general anesthesia. They were randomized to receive 1 mg of terlipressin (n = 16) or norepinephrine infusion (n = 16) to counteract anesthesia-induced hypotension. A laser Doppler probe was introduced into the gastric lumen. All measurements were performed just before surgery, during hypotension, at 30 min, and at 4 h.

RESULTS: Terlipressin produced an increase in mean arterial pressure and a decrease in gastric mucosal perfusion detected by laser Doppler flowmetry (P < 0.05) over 30 min that were sustained for 4 h. During the infusion, norepinephrine produced an increase in mean arterial pressure and in gastric mucosal perfusion detected by laser Doppler flowmetry (P < 0.05). If compared to norepinephrine, terlipressin reduced oxygen delivery and oxygen consumption (P < 0.05) and increased arterial lactate concentrations (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: This study showed the efficacy of terlipressin in the treatment of hypotension episodes in anesthetized patients chronically treated with renin-angiotensin system inhibitors, angiotensin converting-enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. However, the negative effects on gastric mucosal perfusion and the risk of iatrogenic oxygen supply dependency of terlipressin need to be taken into account.

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