Pulmonary vascular effects of dobutamine in experimental pulmonary hypertension

Crit Care Med. 2003 Apr;31(4):1140-6. doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000060126.75746.32.


Objective: To characterize the dose-related effects of dobutamine on pulmonary vascular tone and associated changes in right ventricular afterload in canine microembolic lung injury .

Design: Prospective, interventional study.

Setting: University laboratory.

Subjects: Ten anesthetized and ventilated dogs.

Interventions: Right heart catheterization for the measurement of pulmonary vascular resistance by multipoint mean pulmonary artery pressure (Ppa)/cardiac output (Q) plots, partitioning of pulmonary vascular resistance by the occlusion method, and determination of pulmonary arterial input impedance from spectral analysis of Ppa and Q waves, in ten anesthetized and ventilated dogs, before and after induction of acute microembolic lung injury, and without or with 5, 10, 15, and 20 microg.kg(-1).min(-1) dobutamine.

Measurements and main results: Microembolic pulmonary hypertension was associated with a shift of Ppa/Q plots to higher pressures, a slight decrease in the arterial component of pulmonary vascular resistance, a decrease in characteristic impedance, and an increase in the pulsatile component of right ventricular hydraulic load. At baseline, dobutamine had no effect on Ppa/Q plots at 5 and 10 microg.kg(-1).min(-1) but increased Ppa at 15 and 20 microg.kg(-1).min(-1). In microembolic pulmonary hypertension, the only effect of dobutamine on Ppa/Q plots was a decrease in Ppa at 20 microg.kg(-1).min(-1). Dobutamine had no effect on the partitioning of pulmonary vascular resistance or on pulmonary arterial input impedance spectrum.

Conclusions: Dobutamine at doses up to 10 microg.kg(-1).min(-1) has no flow-independent effect on the normal or the acutely hypertensive pulmonary circulation. Higher doses may be constricting or dilating depending on preexisting tone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiac Output
  • Dobutamine / pharmacology*
  • Dogs
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology*
  • Lung / blood supply*
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Embolism / complications
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects*


  • Dobutamine