Inotropic drugs and their uses in critical care

Authors

  • Andrew Parry

    Corresponding author
    1. A Parry, Dip. Nursing, Cert. Critical Care, Dip. Intensive Care Nursing, BSc (Hons) Community Health Studies, De113 (Anaesthetics), PCGE, Senior Lecturer in Critical Care, Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, Lower Glyntaf Campus, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, UK
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Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, Lower Glyntaf Campus, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd CF37 1DL, UK
E-mail:aparry@glam.ac.uk

Abstract

The aim of this article was to provide a resource for critical care nurses wishing to further their understanding of inotropic drugs used in critical care. The physiology of cardiac output and blood pressure is examined along with an explanation of adrenergic receptors acted on by inotropes. Some common indications for inotropic therapy are discussed, along with essential patient monitoring and dose calculations to ensure safe therapeutic ranges are observed. Some of the most commonly used positive inotropes used in critical care environments are individually explored, providing indications and some of the latest research relating to their uses. Frequently, observed side effects of individual inotropes are also offered, enabling the nurse to maintain patient safety when administering these potent drugs. Some major nursing and professional issues related to inotrope therapy and medicine administration are discussed, as well as some recommended practices in renewing infusions.

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