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Epi or dopamine for pediatric shock

November 7, 2016

Short Attention Span Summary

Epi or Dopamine for pediatric shock
Epinephrine resolved shock in the first hour better than dopamine in pediatric shock patients, which was the primary outcome.  There was no statistically significant difference in mortality, though the non-significant trend favored dopamine.

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Epinephrine resolved early fluid-nonresponsive shock faster than dopamine.  Whether this translates into more important, patient-centered outcomes remains to be seen.


Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2016 Sep 23. [Epub ahead of print]

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

Ramaswamy KN1, Singhi SJayashree MBansal ANallasamy K.

Author information: 

  • 1All authors: Division of Pediatric Intensive and Emergency Care, Department of Pediatrics, Advanced Pediatrics Centre, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.



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


Double-blind, pilot, randomized controlled study.


Pediatric emergency and ICU of a tertiary care teaching hospital.


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


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.


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.


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.

PMID: 27673385 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]