Endotracheal Epinephrine: A Call for Larger Doses


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Abstract

Endotracheal administration of epinephrine 0.02 mg/kg (twice the IV dose) is recommended when IV access is unavailable during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The standard IV dose has been considered too small for the endotracheal route by causing a detrimental decrease of arterial blood pressure (BP), presumably mediated by the β-adrenergic receptor unopposed by α adrenergic vasoconstriction. We conducted a prospective, randomized, laboratory comparison of increasing doses of endotracheal epinephrine to ascertain the yet undetermined optimal dose of endotracheal epinephrine that would increase BP. After injecting normal saline (control), saline-diluted epinephrine (0.02, 0.035, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 mg/kg) was injected into the endotracheal tube of five anesthetized dogs at least 1 wk apart. Arterial blood samples for blood gases were collected before and at 14 time points up to 60 min after the drug administration. Heart rate and arterial BP were continuously monitored with a polygraph recorder. Only the 0.3 mg/kg dose successfully caused an increase in BP, observed 2 min after administration, and lasting for 10 min. An early decrease in BP was obviated only at a dose equivalent to 10-fold the currently recommended one.

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