Terlipressin or norepinephrine in hyperdynamic septic shock: A prospective, randomized study*

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To compare, in patients with hyperdynamic septic shock, the effects of norepinephrine or terlipressin on hemodynamic variables and renal function.


Prospective, randomized, open-label study.


Intensive care unit of a university, tertiary, and referral center.


Twenty adult patients with hyperdynamic septic shock, after fluid resuscitation.


Patients were randomized to receive norepinephrine or terlipressin. Global hemodynamic variables, oxygen consumption, urine flow, creatinine clearance, and arterial blood lactate levels were measured.

Measurements and Main Results:

Mean arterial pressure, systemic vascular resistance, pulmonary vascular resistance, and left and right ventricular stroke work were significantly increased with both drugs. With terlipressin, but not with norepinephrine, a significant decrease in heart rate (from 113 ± 17 to 104 ± 11 beats·min−1, p < .01) and cardiac index (from 5.1 ± 1.7 to 4.2 ± 1.6 L·min−1·m−2) was observed, with no change in stroke volume. Oxygen delivery index (from 784 ± 131 to 701 ± 92 mL·min−1·m−2) and consumption index (from 244 ± 69 to 210 ± 54 mL·min−1·m−2) were significantly decreased with terlipressin, but not with norepinephrine. Blood lactate concentrations were significantly decreased with both drugs. Urine flow and creatinine clearance were increased with both drugs.


In patients with hyperdynamic septic shock, both norepinephrine and terlipressin were effective to raise mean arterial blood pressure. With terlipressin, but not norepinephrine, the improvement in blood pressure was achieved at the expense of cardiac index and oxygen consumption, which were significantly decreased. Renal function was improved with both drugs. In further studies, alternative strategies to maintain cardiac index should be explored, such as a synergy between low-dose terlipressin and dobutamine.

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