Refractory ventricular fibrillation treated with esmolol

Resuscitation. 2016 Oct;107:150-5. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2016.07.243. Epub 2016 Aug 11.


Aims: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of esmolol treatment for patients with refractory ventricular fibrillation (RVF) in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).

Methods: This single-centre retrospective pre-post study evaluated patients who were treated between January 2012 and December 2015. Some patients had received esmolol (loading dose: 500μg/kg, infusion: 0-100μg/kg/min) for RVF (≥3 defibrillation attempts), after obtaining consent from the patient's guardian.

Results: Twenty-five patients did not receive esmolol (the control group), and 16 patients received esmolol. Sustained return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) was significantly more common in the esmolol group, compared to the control group (56% vs. 16%, p=0.007). Survival and good neurological outcomes at 30 days, 3 months and at 6 months were >2-fold better in the esmolol group, compared to the control group, although these increases were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: The findings of our study suggest that administration of esmolol may increase the rate of sustained ROSC and ICU survival among patients with RVF in OHCA. Further larger-scale, prospective studies are necessary to determine the effect of esmolol for RVF in OHCA.

Keywords: Adrenergic beta-1 receptor antagonists; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Ventricular fibrillation.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-1 Receptor Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic beta-1 Receptor Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Aged
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation* / adverse effects
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation* / methods
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Drug Resistance
  • Electric Countershock / adverse effects
  • Electric Countershock / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / complications
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / therapy
  • Propanolamines* / administration & dosage
  • Propanolamines* / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / etiology
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / prevention & control*


  • Adrenergic beta-1 Receptor Antagonists
  • Propanolamines
  • esmolol