Successful resuscitation from cardiac arrest in the asphyxiated dog model has been ascribed to the use of artificial ventilation, closed chest cardiac massage, and administration of a vasopressor. Controversy remains over whether the most commonly employed vasopressor, epinephrine, exerts its effects primarily by elevating diastolic pressure and reestablishing coronary flow, or by exciting cardiac pacemaker cells and enhancing myocardial contractility. To observe pure α and β adrenergic receptor influences during resuscitation, three groups (α-blocked, β-blocked, unblocked) of dogs were studied. β-blocked dogs resuscitated with phenylephrine and unblocked dogs resuscitated with epinephrine experienced 100% successful resumption of spontaneous circulation after 5 min of asphyxia-induced arrest. Only 27% of α-blocked animals resuscitated with isoproterenol were successfully revived. The appearance of the ECG during cardiac arrest and resuscitation could in no way be used to predict the outcome of resuscitation attempts.
Results suggest that, initially, a receptor stimulation with concomitant diastolic pressure elevation is more important to the success of resuscitation than β receptor stimulation.