Study objective: The objective of this study was to measure plasma catecholamine levels and the cardiovascular response before and after endotracheal administration of epinephrine in a swine cardiac arrest model.
Design: Prospective, controlled laboratory investigation.
Type of participants: Twenty-one swine weighing 10 to 12 kg, anesthetized with ketamine and alpha-chloralose and ventilated with room air.
Interventions: Ventricular fibrillation was induced with 90 V of 60 Hz current delivered to the right ventricle by transvenous pacemaker. Blood samples for epinephrine were drawn before arrest and every two minutes thereafter. At five minutes, external mechanical cardiac compressions were initiated. Nine animals received no further therapy and served as controls. Two groups of six animals received either 0.01 mg/kg or 0.1 mg/kg of epinephrine through the endotracheal tube at ten and 20 minutes. Blood samples were assayed for epinephrine.
Measurements: Arterial blood pressure, lead II ECG, and plasma epinephrine.
Main results: Swine receiving epinephrine 0.01 mg/kg had an increase in epinephrine levels after drug administration, but these were not significantly different from control levels. The 0.1-mg/kg dose group had a significant increase in plasma epinephrine levels compared with controls and the 0.01-mg/kg dose group after receiving epinephrine at ten and 20 minutes. These increases were from 14 +/- 3 to 215 +/- 40 ng/mL (+/- SEM) at 12 minutes after arrest and from 151 +/- 56 to 402 +/- 80 ng/mL at 22 minutes after arrest.
Conclusion: These data suggest that standard dosing of epinephrine through the endotracheal tube during arrest does not produce significant increases in plasma catecholamines or blood pressure. Epinephrine 0.1 mg/kg produces a significant increase in plasma epinephrine levels, but it is not sufficient to produce a significant change in blood pressure.