Addition of glucagon to adrenaline improves hemodynamics in a porcine model of prolonged ventricular fibrillation

Am J Emerg Med. 2014 Feb;32(2):139-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2013.10.030. Epub 2013 Oct 17.


Objective: Cardiac arrest is a daunting medical emergency. The aim of the present study was to assess whether the combination of adrenaline and glucagon would improve initial resuscitation success, 48-hour survival, and neurologic outcome compared with adrenaline alone in a porcine model of ventricular fibrillation.

Methods: Ventricular fibrillation was induced in 20 healthy Landrace/Large White piglets, which were subsequently left untreated for 8 minutes. The animals were randomized to receive adrenaline alone (n = 10, group C) and adrenaline plus glucagon (n = 10, group G). All animals were resuscitated according to the 2010 European Resuscitation Council guidelines. Hemodynamic variables were measured before arrest, during arrest and resuscitation, and during the first 60 minutes after return of spontaneous circulation. Survival and a neurologic alertness score were measured at 48 hours after return of spontaneous circulation.

Results: Return of spontaneous circulation was achieved in 8 animals (80%) from group C and 10 animals (100%) from group G (P = .198). A significant gradual increase in coronary perfusion pressure and diastolic aortic pressure over time, which started 1 minute after the onset of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, was observed. Three animals (30%) from group C and 9 animals (90%) from group G survived after 48 hours (P = .006), whereas neurologic examination was significantly better in the animals of group G (P < .001).

Conclusions: In this porcine model of prolonged ventricular fibrillation, the addition of glucagon to adrenaline improves hemodynamics during resuscitation and early postresuscitation period and may increase survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use*
  • Glucagon / administration & dosage
  • Glucagon / therapeutic use*
  • Heart Arrest / drug therapy
  • Heart Arrest / physiopathology
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Swine
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / physiopathology


  • Glucagon
  • Epinephrine