Cardiovascular pharmacology II: The use of catecholamines, pressor agents, digitalis, and corticosteroids in CPR and emergency cardiac care

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The Cardiovascular Pharmacology II panel met during the AHA National Conference on Standards and Guidelines for CPR and emergency cardiac care to consider the use of catecholamines, pressor agents, digitalis, and corticosteroids during advanced cardiac life support. During cardiac arrest, catecholamines and pressor agents have been shown to improve the rate of success of resuscitation. The useful properties of these drugs are mediated by strong α-adrenergic stimulation resulting in improved perfusion. β-Adrenergic stimulation during cardiac arrest is unimportant for resuscitation and potentially harmful. Studies have not demonstrated a difference between mixed agonists and α-agonists with respect to overall outcome. Consequently, the panel recommended that epinephrine continue to be the primary vasopressor for use during cardiac arrest. For cardiovascular support in the hemodynamically unstable patient, the panel recommended that drugs be chosen for specific pharmacologic actions that will allow the needed physiologic manipulation guided by objective hemodynamic measurements. The panel found that digitalis preparations and corticosteroids have very limited use in emergency cardiac care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number6 II MONOGR. 126
Publication statusPublished - 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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