UNLABELLED: In patients chronically treated with angiotensin converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEI), typically selected doses of ephedrine do not always restore arterial blood pressure when anesthesia-induced hypotension occurs. We postulated that the administration of terlipressin, an agonist of the vasopressin system, with ephedrine more effectively restores pressure in this setting than the administration of ephedrine alone. This prospective, randomized, cross-over, double-blinded study compared terlipressin combined with ephedrine (n = 19) with ephedrine alone (n = 21) in treating hypotension at the induction of anesthesia in 40 ACEI-treated patients undergoing hypotension (mean arterial blood pressure [MAP] <65 mm Hg or <30% of baseline value) after standardized anesthetic protocol (target-controlled IV anesthesia with propofol). Data are mean +/- SD. Patient characteristics, MAP, and heart rate before and after the induction of anesthesia during hypotensive episodes were not significantly different between the two groups. After the first bolus, MAP was significantly greater in the Terlipressin-Ephedrine group (72 +/- 12 mm Hg versus 65 +/- 8 mm Hg, P < 0.05). The occurrence of a second hypotensive episode (5% versus 71%, P < 0.001), the duration (2 +/- 1 min versus 3 +/- 1 min, P < 0.01) of hypotensive episodes, and the median dose of ephedrine (3 versus 6 mg, P < 0.05) were significantly less in the Terlipressin-Ephedrine group. In conclusion, terlipressin combined with ephedrine is more effective than ephedrine alone for treating anesthesia-induced hypotension in ACEI-treated patients. We conclude that this patient population with a partially blocked endogenous response to hypotension may be good candidates for successful use of a vasopressin analog to counteract intraoperative refractory hypotension.
IMPLICATIONS: Vascular surgical patients chronically treated with drugs that inhibit the functioning of the renin-angiotensin system may experience hypotension unresponsive to conventional therapy. This double-blinded, cross-over study demonstrated that in these patients the use of a vasopressin analog, terlipressin given with ephedrine, was effective in reversing intraoperative systemic hypotension refractory to ephedrine.