Vasopressors 

Updated: Aug 19, 2015
  • Author: Abimbola Farinde, PharmD, PhD; more...
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Effects of Various Vasopressors

Epinephrine

  • Receptors: Moderate beta-2, strong beta-1 and alpha adrenergic
  • Increased cardiac output (CO) and heart rate (HR)
  • Decreased renal perfusion
  • Increased pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR), minimally
  • Increased systemic vascular resistance (SVR)
  • Significant increase in systolic function
  • No effect in diastolic function
  • Increased oxygen demand, significantly
  • Variable blood pressure (BP)

Norepinephrine

  • Receptors: Strong alpha-1 and alpha-2, moderate beta-1
  • Increased PVR, minimally
  • Increased BP
  • Increased SVR, significantly
  • No effect on diastolic function
  • Increased oxygen demand
  • Increased systolic function, minimally
  • Decreased renal perfusion
  • Variable CO

Phenylephrine

  • Receptors: Strong alpha-1
  • Increased SVR, significantly
  • No effect on PVR
  • Increased BP
  • No effect on HR
  • No effect on systolic or diastolic function
  • No effect on myocardial oxygen demand
  • Decreased CO and renal perfusion

Dopamine, low dose (1-5 µg/kg/min)

  • Receptors: Dopaminergic agonist
  • Renal and mesenteric vasodilation
  • Increased HR
  • Increased systolic function, minimal
  • No effect in diastolic function
  • Increased oxygen demand, minimal
  • Increased SVR, minimal
  • No effect on PVR

Dopamine, medium dose (6-10 µg/kg/min)

  • Receptors: Beta-1 agonist
  • Increased systolic function
  • Increased HR and CO
  • No effect in diastolic function
  • Increased myocardial oxygen demand
  • Increased SVR
  • Increased PVR, minimal
  • Renal vasodilation

Dopamine, large dose (11-20 µg/kg/min)

  • Receptors: Alpha-1 agonist
  • Increased HR, CO, PVR
  • No effect on diastolic function
  • Increased myocardial oxygen demand
  • Increased PVR, minimal
  • Increased SVR, significantly

Dobutamine

  • Receptors: Strong beta-1, weak beta-2 and alpha receptors
  • Increased HR, CO
  • Increased HR
  • Increased systolic function
  • No effect on diastolic function
  • Increased in myocardial oxygen demand
  • Decreased SVR
  • Decreased PVR, minimally

Vasopressin

  • Receptors: ADH analogue
  • PVR effect unknown
  • Increased SVR, significantly
  • No effect on HR
  • No effect on systolic or diastolic function
  • No effect in myocardial oxygen demand
  • Splanchnic vasoconstriction