Effects of dobutamine on hemodynamics and left ventricular performance after cardiopulmonary bypass in cardiac surgical patients

Anesthesiology. 1999 Nov;91(5):1318-28. doi: 10.1097/00000542-199911000-00024.


Background: Dobutamine is commonly used to improve ventricular performance after cardiopulmonary bypass. The authors determined the effect of dobutamine on hemodynamics and left ventricular performance immediately after cardiopulmonary bypass in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

Methods: One hundred patients received sequential 3-min infusions of dobutamine at 0-40 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) immediately after cardiopulmonary bypass. Ten additional patients who received no dobutamine served as controls. Hemodynamics and left ventricular performance (fractional area change by transesophageal echocardiography, stroke volume index, and thermodilution cardiac index) were measured. Mixed-effects modeling accounted for repeated-measures data and interindividual differences and allowed for potential effects of covariates.

Results: Heart rate increased in a dose-dependent manner. The slope of HR versus dobutamine dose was steeper in individuals in whom peak dobutamine dose was not reached compared with that in the remaining individuals; slope decreased 2.71 +/- 0.68% per year of age. Dobutamine affected blood pressure minimally, but slightly decreased pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and central venous pressure. Systemic vascular resistance initially increased with dobutamine 10 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) and remained constant with larger doses. Dobutamine produced a dose-dependent increase in left ventricular performance, primarily by increasing heart rate, because stroke volume index decreased with dobutamine dose.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that the response to graded dobutamine infusion in the post-cardiopulmonary bypass period differs from that previously reported. After cardiopulmonary bypass, the dominant mechanism by which dobutamine improves left ventricular performance is by increasing heart rate. Dobutamine affects blood pressure minimally.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass*
  • Dobutamine / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stroke Volume / drug effects
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects
  • Ventricular Function, Left / drug effects*


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Dobutamine