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Review
, 37 (2), 82-6

Understanding Vasoactive Medications: Focus on Pharmacology and Effective Titration

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Review

Understanding Vasoactive Medications: Focus on Pharmacology and Effective Titration

John M Allen. J Infus Nurs.

Abstract

In the care of the critically ill patient, the use of vasoactive substances such as vasopressors and inotropes can be a potentially lifesaving intervention. An understanding of the pathophysiology of the various types of shock and pharmacology of the pharmacological agents used in the treatment of shock is necessary for intensive care unit clinicians to make appropriate decisions regarding when vasopressors or inotropes are indicated and assess their effectiveness. This review article will provide background on the different types of shock, compare and contrast the commonly used vasoactive substances in critically ill patients, discuss titration strategies for these agents, and review management of extravasation of these agents.

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