The effects of dopamine infusion on regional blood flow in newborn lambs

Pediatr Res. 1987 Feb;21(2):131-6. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198702000-00005.


The purpose of this project was to investigate the effects of high rates of dopamine infusion on cardiac output and regional blood flow in the lamb. We studied eight unanesthetized newborn lambs (mean age 7 +/- 2 days) during a 15-min baseline period and while infusing dopamine at 5-, 20-, 80-, and 160 micrograms/kg/min. We measured cardiac output and mean aortic, pulmonary arterial and left atrial pressures, and organ blood flow using radionuclide-labeled microspheres at each rate of dopamine infusion. Cardiac output increased significantly with increasing rates of infusion up to 80 micrograms/kg/min but decreased at 160 micrograms/kg/min. Aortic, pulmonary arterial, and left atrial pressures increased at rates of infusion above 5 micrograms/kg/min. Blood flow to all organs was unchanged at the 5 micrograms/kg/min rate of infusion of dopamine while blood flow to the brain and heart increased at the 80 micrograms/kg/min rate of infusion and blood flow to the gut and kidney decreased. We conclude that dopamine is an effective inotropic agent in the newborn lamb but that an inotropic:afterload mismatch exists at high infusion rates. Despite an increase in cardiac output at low rates of infusion, dopamine did not selectively vasodilate the vascular bed of any organs tested. Furthermore, at high rates of infusion dopamine actually impaired blood flow to the gut and kidney.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cardiac Output / drug effects*
  • Dopamine / pharmacology*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Microspheres
  • Pulmonary Wedge Pressure / drug effects
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects*
  • Sheep
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects


  • Dopamine