The Route, Dose, and Interval of Epinephrine for Neonatal Resuscitation: A Systematic Review

Pediatrics. 2020 Oct;146(4):e20200586. doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-0586. Epub 2020 Sep 9.


Context: Current International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation recommendations on epinephrine administration during neonatal resuscitation were derived in 2010 from indirect evidence in animal or pediatric studies.

Objective: Systematic review of human infant and relevant animal studies comparing other doses, routes, and intervals of epinephrine administration in neonatal resuscitation with (currently recommended) administration of 0.01 to 0.03 mg/kg doses given intravenously (IV) every 3 to 5 minutes.

Data sources: Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and trial registry databases.

Study selection: Predefined criteria were used for selection.

Data extraction: Risk of bias was assessed by using published tools appropriate for the study type. Certainty of evidence was assessed by using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation.

Results: Only 2 of 4 eligible cohort studies among 593 unique retrieved records yielded data allowing comparisons. There were no differences between IV and endotracheal epinephrine for the primary outcome of death at hospital discharge (risk ratio = 1.03 [95% confidence interval 0.62 to 1.71]) or for failure to achieve return of spontaneous circulation, time to return of spontaneous circulation (1 study; 50 infants), or proportion receiving additional epinephrine (2 studies; 97 infants). There were no differences in outcomes between 2 endotracheal doses (1 study). No human infant studies were found in which authors addressed IV dose or dosing interval.

Limitations: The search yielded sparse human evidence of very low certainty (downgraded for serious risk of bias and imprecision).

Conclusions: Administration of epinephrine by endotracheal versus IV routes resulted in similar survival and other outcomes. However, in animal studies, researchers continue to suggest benefit of IV administration using currently recommended doses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Resuscitation / methods*


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Epinephrine