The use of epinephrine in septic shock remains controversial. Nevertheless, epinephrine is widely used around the world and the reported morbidity and mortality rates with it are no different from those observed with other vasopressors. In volunteers, epinephrine increases heart rate, mean arterial pressure and cardiac output. Epinephrine also induces hyperglycemia and hyperlactatemia. In hyperkinetic septic shock, epinephrine consistently increases arterial pressure and cardiac output in a dose dependent manner. Epinephrine transiently increases lactate levels through an increase in aerobic glycolysis. Epinephrine has no effect on splanchnic circulation in dopamine-sensitive septic shock. On the other hand, in dopamine-resistant septic shock, epinephrine has no effect on tonometric parameters but decreases fractional splanchnic blood flow with an increase in the gradient of mixed venous oxygen saturation (SVO2) and hepatic venous oxygen saturation (SHO2). In conclusion, epinephrine has predictable effects on systemic hemodynamics and is as efficient as norepinephrine in correcting hemodynamic disturbances of septic shock. Moreover, epinephrine is cheaper than other commonly used catecholamine regimens in septic shock. The clinical impact of the transient hyperlactatemia and of the splanchnic effects are not established.
Updated on July 27, 2020