Epinephrine induces rapid deterioration in pulmonary oxygen exchange in intact, anesthetized rats: a flow and pulmonary capillary pressure-dependent phenomenon.

PMID 22902967


Previous studies indicate epinephrine adversely affects arterial oxygenation when administered in a rat model of local anesthetic overdose. The authors tested whether epinephrine alone exerts similar effects in the intact animal. Anesthetized rats received a single intravenous injection of epinephrine (25, 50, or 100 mcg/kg); matched cohorts were pretreated with phentolamine (100 mcg/kg); n = 5 for each of the six treatment groups. Arterial pressure and blood gases were measured at baseline, 1 and 10 min after epinephrine administration. Pulmonary capillary pressures during epinephrine infusion with normal and increased flows were measured in an isolated lung preparation. Epinephrine injection in the intact animal caused hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and acidosis at all doses. Arterial oxygen tension was reduced within 1 min of injection. Hyperlactatemia occurred by 10 min after 50 and 100 mcg/kg. Rate pressure product was decreased by 10 min after 100 mcg/kg epinephrine. Pretreatment with phentolamine attenuated these effects except at 100 mcg/kg epinephrine. In the isolated lung preparation, epinephrine in combination with increased pulmonary flow increased pulmonary capillary pressure and lung water. Bolus injection of epinephrine in the intact, anesthetized rat impairs pulmonary oxygen exchange within 1 min of treatment. Effects were blunted by α-adrenergic receptor blockade. Edema occurred in the isolated lung above a threshold pulmonary capillary pressure when epinephrine treatment was coupled with an increase in pulmonary flow. These results potentially argue against using traditional doses of epinephrine for resuscitation, particularly in the anesthetized patient.

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