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

Ramaswamy, Karthik Narayanan MD, DM; Singhi, Sunit MD; Jayashree, Muralidharan MD; Bansal, Arun MD; Nallasamy, Karthi MD, DM

doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000000954
Online Clinical Investigations
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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.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

All authors: Division of Pediatric Intensive and Emergency Care, Department of Pediatrics, Advanced Pediatrics Centre, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.

*See also p. 1099.

This work was performed at Advanced Pediatrics Centre, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and research, Chandigarh, India.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (http://journals.lww.com/pccmjournal).

Supported, in part, by the departmental fund.

The authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

For information regarding this article, E-mail: sunit.singhi@gmail.com

©2016The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies