Use of inotropes and vasopressor agents in critically ill patients


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Abstract

Inotropes and vasopressors are biologically and clinically important compounds that originate from different pharmacological groups and act at some of the most fundamental receptor and signal transduction systems in the body. More than 20 such agents are in common clinical use, yet few reviews of their pharmacology exist outside of physiology and pharmacology textbooks. Despite widespread use in critically ill patients, understanding of the clinical effects of these drugs in pathological states is poor. The purpose of this article is to describe the pharmacology and clinical applications of inotropic and vasopressor agents in critically ill patients.LINKED ARTICLESThis article is commented on by Bracht et al., pp. 2009–2011 and De Backer and Scolletta, pp. 2012–2014 of this issue. To view Bracht et al. visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01776.x and to view De Backer and Scolletta visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01746.x

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