Vasopressin versus epinephrine during cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A randomized swine outcome study

Sardar Ijlal Babar, Robert A. Berg, Ronald W. Hilwig, Karl B. Kern, Gordon A. Ewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


In animal models, vasopressin improves short-term outcome after cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for ventricular fibrillation compared to placebo, and improves myocardial and cerebral hemodynamics during CPR compared to epinephrine. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that vasopressin would improve 24-h neurologically intact survival compared to epinephrine. After a 2-min untreated ventricular fibrillation interval followed by 6 min of simulated bystander CPR, 35 domestic swine (weight, 25±1 kg) were randomly provided with a single dose of vasopressin (20 U or approximately 0.8 U kg-1 intravenously) or with epinephrine (0.02 mg kg-1 intravenously every 5 min). Ten minutes after initial medication administration (18 min after induction of ventricular fibrillation), standard advanced life support was provided, starting with defibrillation. Animals that were successfully resuscitated received 1 h of intensive care support and were observed for 24 h. Coronary perfusion pressures were higher in the vasopressin group 2 and 4 min after vasopressin administration (28±2 versus 18±1 mmHg, P<0.01, and 26±3 versus 18±2 mmHg, P<0.05, respectively). The vasopressin group tended to be successfully defibrillated on the first attempt more frequently (8/18 versus 3/17, P=0.15). Return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) was attained in 12/18 (67%) vasopressin-treated pigs versus 8/17 (47%) epinephrine-treated pigs, P=0.24. Twenty-four hour neurologically normal survival occurred in 11/18 (61%) versus 7/17 (41%), respectively, P=0.24. In conclusion, vasopressin administration during CPR improved coronary perfusion pressure, but did not result in statistically significant outcome improvement. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1999


  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Epinephrine
  • Heart arrest
  • Vasopressins
  • Vasopressor therapy
  • Ventricular fibrillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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