Aim: To determine the haemodynamic effects of dopamine and volume expansion in preterm neonates. Effect parameters were mean arterial blood pressure (MABP), left ventricular output (LVO) and global cerebral blood flow (CBF).
Methods: In a randomised, clinical control trial 36 preterm neonates were randomised to receive either dopamine 5 microg/kg per min, volume expansion with albumin 20% 15 ml/kg or no treatment. Parameters were measured before and 2 h after initiation of treatment.
Results: Dopamine was effective in increasing MABP; both treatments increased LVO, whereas no significant difference between the treatment groups and the control group could be demonstrated with regard to CBF.
Conclusion: No effect on global cerebral blood flow could be demonstrated in this study, despite significant effects on systemic circulatory parameters. However, the variance on the measurement of cerebral blood flow indicates that a small but clinically significant effect may have been overlooked.