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Resuscitation. 2009 Jul;80(7):755-61. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2009.04.005. Epub 2009 May 14.

Reduced effectiveness of vasopressin in repeated doses for patients undergoing prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

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Department of Acute Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, Oyaguchi Kamimachi, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo, Japan.



The efficacy of repeated administration of vasopressin alone during prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) remains unconfirmed. This study was conducted to estimate the effectiveness of the repeated administration of vasopressin vs. epinephrine for cardiopulmonary arrest (CPA) patients receiving prolonged CPR.


We conducted a prospective randomized controlled study on patients who experienced out-of-hospital CPA. The patients were randomly assigned to receive a maximum of four injections of either 40IU of vasopressin (vasopressin group) or 1mg of epinephrine (epinephrine group) immediately after emergency room (ER) admission. Patients who received vasopressors before ER admission or suffered non-cardiogenic CPA were excluded after randomization.


In total, 336 patients were enrolled (vasopressin group, n=137; epinephrine group, n=118). No differences were found between these groups (vasopressin group vs. epinephrine group) in the rates of return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) (28.7% vs. 26.6%), 24-h survival (16.9% vs. 20.3%), or survival to hospital discharge (5.6% vs. 3.8%). In a subgroup analysis by the Fisher's exact test, the rate of ROSC was higher in the vasopressin group than in the epinephrine group, among the patients whose arrests were witnessed (48.1% vs. 27.8%, p=0.010) or who received bystander CPR (68.0% vs. 38.5%, p=0.033). When the independent predictors of ROSC were calculated in the subgroup analysis, however, vasopressin administration (Odds ratio: 0.87-0.28) did not affect the outcome.


This is the first report of a possible vasopressin-alone resuscitation without additional epinephrine. However, repeated injections of either vasopressin or epinephrine during prolonged advanced cardiac life support resulted in comparable survival.

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