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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation with vasopressin in a dog


Dr Christian A Schmittinger, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria. E-mail:


That endogenous vasopressin levels in successfully resuscitated human patients were significantly higher than in patients who died pointed to the possible benefit of administering vasopressin during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Several CPR studies in pigs showed that vasopressin improved blood flow to vital organs, cerebral oxygen delivery, resuscitability and neurological outcome when compared with epinephrine. In a small clinical study, vasopressin significantly improved short-term survival when compared with epinephrine indicating its potential as an alternative pressor to epinephrine during CPR in human beings. As there was little clinical data available at that time, its recommended use was limited to adult human beings with shock-refractory ventricular fibrillation. In this report, we present the case of a dog in which the successful management of intraoperative asystolic cardiac arrest involved vasopressin. Unexpected cardiac arrest occurred during anaesthesia for the surgical removal of multiple mammary adenocarcinomata in a 11-year-old Yorkshire terrier. Despite an ASA physical status assignation of III, the dog was successfully resuscitated with external chest compressions, intermittent positive pressure ventilation and vasopressin (2 doses of 0.8 IU kg−1) and was discharged 3 days later without signs of neurological injury. We believe vasopressin contributed to restoring spontaneous circulation. It may prove increasingly useful in perioperative resuscitation in dogs.