What is the role of inotropic therapy in sepsis/septic shock?

Updated: Oct 07, 2020
  • Author: Andre Kalil, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Although myocardial performance is altered during sepsis and septic shock, cardiac output generally is maintained in patients with volume-resuscitated sepsis. Data from the 1980s and 1990s suggested a linear relation between oxygen delivery and oxygen consumption (pathologic supply dependency), indicating that the oxygen delivery likely was insufficient to meet the metabolic needs of the patient.

However, subsequent investigations challenged the concept of pathologic supply dependency, suggesting that elevating cardiac index and oxygen delivery (hyperresuscitation) was not associated with improved patient outcome. Therefore, the role of inotropic therapy is uncertain, unless the patient has inadequate cardiac index, MAP, mixed venous oxygen saturation (SmvO2), and UOP despite adequate volume resuscitation and vasopressor therapy.

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