Atropine aborts bradycardic effect of endotracheally administered vasopressin

Ori Efrati, Dalit Modan-Moses, Ron Ben-Abraham, Haim Bibi, Gideon Paret

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Vasopressin is an alternative drug to adrenaline in intractable ventricular fibrillation. However, vasopressin can cause significant bradycardia, resulting in reduced cardiac output. We investigated whether pre-treatment with atropine abrogates vasopressin-induced bradycardia in a beating-heart canine model. Material/Methods: Five adult mongrel dogs received endotracheal vasopressin (1.0 U/kg) with or without endotracheal atropine (0.02 mg/kg) or a placebo (10 ml saline) after being anesthetized and ventilated. Hemodynamic variables and arterial blood gases were determined. Each dog (studied 3 times, one week apart) served as its own control. Results: Endotracheal vasopressin produced early and significant (p<0.05) bradycardia (from 55±7 mmHg to 35±5 beats/min) compared with controls, starting one minute post-injection and lasting one hour. In contrast, in atropine-pretreated animals the heart rate increased significantly (p<.05) for as long as one hour post-atropine and vasopressin administration. In addition, animals treated with vasopressin with or without atropine exhibited a significant rise in diastolic blood pressure (from 83±5 to 160±15 and from 83±3 to 108plusmn;10 mmHg, respectively). Systolic and mean blood pressures also increased significantly compared with controls. Blood gases remained unchanged in all groups. Conclusions: Endotracheal administration of vasopressin can cause protracted bradycardia. Pretreatment with atropine can abrogate this effect. We suggest that atropine administration be considered when vasopressin is administered during cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the effect of vasopressin and atropine in a closed-chest model of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CR410-CR414
JournalMedical Science Monitor
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bradyarrhythmia
  • Cardiopulmonaryresuscitation
  • Hemodynamics
  • Shock
  • Vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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