Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Emerg Med. 1998 Sep;32(3 Pt 1):329-33.

Experimental tricyclic antidepressant toxicity: a randomized, controlled comparison of hypertonic saline solution, sodium bicarbonate, and hyperventilation.

Author information

Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA.



We sought to compare the effects of hypertonic sodium chloride solution (HTS), sodium bicarbonate solution, and hyperventilation (HV) on severe tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) toxicity in a swine model.


Twenty-four mixed-breed, domestic swine of either sex were given an intravenous infusion of nortriptyline (NT) until development of both a QRS duration longer than 120 ms and a systolic blood pressure (SBP) less than or equal to 50 mm Hg. Animals were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups. On reaching toxicity, the control group received 10 mL/kg of 5% dextrose in water (D5W); the HTS group received 10 mL/kg of 7.5% NaCl solution (15 mEq Na+/kg); the NaHCO3 group received 3 mEq/kg of 8.4% sodium bicarbonate solution followed by enough D5W solution to equal 10 mL/kg of total volume; and the HV group was mechanically hyperventilated to maintain arterial pH between 7.50 and 7.60 and given 10 mL/kg of D5W.


The mean SBP 10 minutes after treatment was 54+/-18 mm Hg in the control group, 134+/-21 mm Hg in the HTS group, 85+/-19 mm Hg in the NaHCO3 group, and 60+/-12 mm Hg in the HV group (P<.05). Mean QRS duration 10 minutes after treatment was 144+/-38 ms in the control group, 80+/-14 ms in the HTS group, 105+/-38 ms in the NaHCO3 group, and 125+/-46 ms in the HV group (P<.05).


In this model of TCA, toxicity HTS was more effective than sodium bicarbonate. Hyperventilation had little effect. Sodium loading may be the most important factor in reversing TCA toxicity.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center