Vasoactive support in the optimization of post-cardiac arrest hemodynamic status: From pharmacology to clinical practice
Chalkias, Athanasios F.
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As a critical component of post-resuscitation care, prompt optimization of hemodynamic status by means of targeted interventions is vital in order to maximize the likelihood of good outcome. Vasoactive agents play an essential role in the supportive care of post cardiac arrest patients. The administration of these agents is associated with serious side-effects and therefore they should be used in the minimal dose necessary to achieve low-normal mean arterial pressure and adequate systematic perfusion. Careful and frequent serial evaluation of the patient is important primarily to assess volume status and adequacy of circulatory support. Continuous monitoring of blood pressure and laboratory parameters is essential both to accurately titrate therapy and because inotropes and vasopressors have the potential to induce life-threatening side-effects. The clinical efficacy of inotropes and vasopressors has been largely investigated through examination of their impact on hemodynamic end points, and clinical practice has been driven in part by expert opinion, extrapolation from animal studies, and physician preference. Clearly these agents should all be considered as supportive measures to stabilize the patient prior to some form of definitive therapy.