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[Hemodynamic effects of levosimendan compared with dobutamine in patients with low cardiac output after cardiac surgery]

Author(s): Alvarez J, Bouzada M, Fernandez AL, Caruezo V, Taboada M, Rodriguez J, Ginesta V, Rubio J, Garcia-Bengoechea JB, Gonzalez-Juanatey JR

Affiliation(s): Servicio de Anestesiologia de Reanimacion y Tratamiento del Dolor, Hospital Clinico Universitario de Santiago de Compostela, La Coruna, Spain. julian.alvarez.escudero@sergas.es

Publication date & source: 2006-04, Rev Esp Cardiol., 59(4):338-45.

Publication type: Comparative Study ; English Abstract; Randomized Controlled Trial

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Levosimendan is an inotropic agent that is effective in the treatment of heart failure. However, experience with levosimendan in patients with reduced cardiac output following cardiopulmonary bypass is limited. The objective of this study was to compare the short-term hemodynamic effects of levosimendan with those of dobutamine in managing low cardiac output after cardiac surgery. METHODS: Forty-one patients who had low cardiac output after cardiopulmonary bypass were randomly assigned to dobutamine (n=20), 24-hour infusion of 7.5 microg/kg per min, or levosimendan (n=21), at a loading dose of 12 microg/kg followed by 24-hour infusion of 0.2 microg/kg per min. The following parameters were determined during a 48-hour observation period: arterial, central venous, pulmonary arterial and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, cardiac index, heart rate, stroke volume, and systemic and pulmonary vascular resistance. RESULTS: Although both dobutamine and levosimendan improved the cardiac index, the increase was significantly greater with levosimendan (2.4 [0.2] l/min per m2 vs 2.9 [0.3] l/min per m2, respectively, at 24 h; P<.05). Moreover, levosimendan significantly reduced systemic and pulmonary vascular resistance, and significantly decreased systemic arterial, pulmonary arterial, pulmonary capillary wedge, and central venous pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Both dobutamine and levosimendan are effective in managing postoperative low cardiac output. However, levosimendan induces non-specific systemic, venous and pulmonary vasodilation which can result in hypotension as a adverse event. In these patients, it is advisable to omit or reduce the loading dose.

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