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Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Dopamine and Epinephrine in Pediatric Fluid-Refractory Hypotensive Septic Shock*

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Abstract

Objective:

We compared efficacy of dopamine and epinephrine as first-line vasoactive therapy in achieving resolution of shock in fluid-refractory hypotensive cold septic shock.

Design:

Double-blind, pilot, randomized controlled study.

Setting:

Pediatric emergency and ICU of a tertiary care teaching hospital.

Patients:

Consecutive children 3 months to 12 years old, with fluid-refractory hypotensive septic shock, were enrolled between July 2013 and December 2014.

Intervention:

Enrolled children were randomized to receive either dopamine (in incremental doses, 10 to 15 to 20 μg/kg/min) or epinephrine (0.1 to 0.2 to 0.3 μg/kg/min) till end points of resolution of shock were achieved. After reaching maximum doses of test drugs, open-label vasoactive was started as per discretion of treating team. Primary outcome was resolution of shock within first hour of resuscitation. The study was registered (CTRI/2014/02/004393) and was approved by institute ethics committee.

Measurements and Main Results:

We enrolled 29 children in epinephrine group and 31 in dopamine group. Resolution of shock within first hour was achieved in greater proportion of children receiving epinephrine (n = 12; 41%) than dopamine (n = 4; 13%) (odds ratio, 4.8; 95% CI, 1.3–17.2; p = 0.019); the trend persisted even at 6 hours (48.3% vs 29%; p = 0.184). Children in epinephrine group had lower Sequential Organ Function Assessment score on day 3 (8 vs 12; p = 0.05) and more organ failure–free days (24 vs 20 d; p = 0.022). No significant difference in adverse events (16.1% vs 13.8%; p = 0.80) and mortality (58.1% vs 48.3%; p = 0.605) was observed between the two groups.

Conclusion:

Epinephrine is more effective than dopamine in achieving resolution of fluid-refractory hypotensive cold shock within the first hour of resuscitation and improving organ functions.

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