Comparison of epinephrine and phenylephrine for resuscitation and neurologic outcome of cardiac arrest in dogs

Judith Brillman, Arthur Sanders, Charles W. Otto, Hisham Fahmy, Steven Bragg, Gordon A. Ewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A study was done comparing resuscitability and 24-hour neurologic outcome in fibrillating dogs that were treated with either phenylephrine (a primary alpha agonist) or epinephrine. Ventricular fibrillation was induced electrically in 18 dogs. After three minutes, standard CPR was instituted using a mechanical resuscitator. Dogs were given phenylephrine or epinephrine at nine minutes and defibrillation was attempted at 12 minutes. Dogs underwent hemodynamic monitoring and pharmacologic support, if necessary, for an additional 90 minutes. At four, eight, 12, and 24 hours, a standard neurologic examination was performed and deficit scores were assigned by an observer blinded to the drug given. Fourteen of the 18 dogs were resuscitated. There were no statistically significant differences in the epinephrine- or phenylephrine-treated groups with regard to number of animals resuscitated, time and interventions required for resuscitation, initial cardiac rhythm post resuscitation, or occurrence of ventricular fibrillation during resuscitation. No differences were found in arterial, central venous, or myocardial perfusion pressures during CPR. Phenylephrine-treated dogs tended to have higher mean pressures in the critical care period (15 to 30 minutes), although this was not significant. Total neurologic deficit scores were 127.8 ± 83.8 for the phenylephrine-treated group and 129.4 ± 87.4 for the epinephrine group. No significant differences were found in the level of consciousness, cranial nerve function, motor skills, or general behavior scores. We conclude that there is no difference in neurologic or cardiovascular outcome when phenylephrine is compared to epinephrine in a canine model of cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987


  • cardiac arrest, neurological outcome, epinephrine vs phenylephrine
  • epinephrine, in resuscitation, experimental
  • phenylephrine, in resuscitation, experimental

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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