Vasopressin rescue for in-pediatric intensive care unit cardiopulmonary arrest refractory to initial epinephrine dosing: A prospective feasibility pilot trial

Timothy G. Carroll, Vivian V. Dimas, Tia Tortoriello Raymond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To assess the feasibility of a large, randomized controlled trial of combination epinephrine-arginine vasopressin for in-pediatric intensive care unit cardiopulmonary arrest refractory to initial epinephrine dosing. DESIGN: Prospective, pilot, matched controlled clinical trial using exception from informed consent. SETTING: Pediatric intensive care unit in a university-affiliated tertiary care children's hospital. PATIENTS: All patients <18 yrs of age admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit with cardiopulmonary arrest requiring chest compressions and epinephrine (0.01 mg/kg) were eligible. INTERVENTIONS: Patients who remained in cardiopulmonary arrest despite an initial dose of epinephrine received arginine vasopressin (0.8 U/kg) rescue as the second vasopressor, followed by additional epinephrine if needed. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Outcome variables included return of spontaneous circulation (≥20 min), survival at 24 hrs, survival to hospital discharge, and neurologic status at discharge. Favorable neurologic status was defined as Pediatric Cerebral Performance Categories 1, 2, and 3, or no change from admission. Data were compared to a retrospective, matched cohort of patients who experienced cardiopulmonary arrest requiring ≥ two doses of vasopressor, and did not receive arginine vasopressin (n = 20). Of 2,654 patients admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit, 29 (1.1%) had refractory cardiopulmonary arrest: five patients were excluded, 14 missed for inclusion, and ten were enrolled. There was increased 24-hr survival (80% vs. 30%, odds ratio 9.33, 95% confidence interval 1.51-57.65) in arginine vasopressin patients. There was no significant difference in return of spontaneous circulation, survival to hospital discharge, or favorable neurologic status at discharge. CONCLUSIONS: These pilot data provide support for a larger randomized controlled trial of arginine vasopressin therapy during cardiopulmonary resuscitation for in-hospital pediatric cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2012



  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • epinephrine
  • exception from informed consent
  • in-hospital cardiac arrest
  • pediatric
  • vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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