What are Inotropes?
Inotropes are drugs given to increase the blood pressure and support the function of the heart. They are given via CVC (Central venous lines) into a large vein(blood vessel).
Different types of Inotropes (eg Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, Vasopressin, Isoprenaline, Dobutamine, Milrinone and Levosimendan) are used in various situations. Inotropes are commonly used in Intensive Care and they are generally or very rarely used outside of Intensive Care.
Why does your loved one need Inotropes?
Your critically ill loved one in Intensive Care may need Inotropes for a variety of reasons, however the most common reasons for use of Inotropes in Intensive Care are
- fluid loss/ blood loss after surgery
- blood loss after trauma (Multi Trauma (Polytrauma)
- blood pressure drop after your loved one may be induced into a coma (What is an induced coma and why is my critically ill loved one in an induced coma?)
- Weakness of the heart after or during
- Cardiac Arrest
- Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)
- Heart Attack (Acute Myocardial Infarction)
- Heart Failure
- Heart Transplant
Your critically ill loved one may also need Inotropes during Sepsis, which is generally classified as a potentially fatal whole-body inflammation caused by severe infection. During Sepsis the blood pressure can drop significantly and the treatment of choice for low blood pressure during Sepsis can be Inotropes along with fluid replacement.
How are Inotropes given or administered?
Inotropes are given through a CVC (Central venous lines) via an Infusion pump so that the rate can be tightly controlled.
What are the risks of Inotropes?
- High blood pressure
- Impairment of blood supply to fingers and toes
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Increased levels of acid and sugar in the blood
- Increased risk of developing Pressure ulcers
- Inotrope dependency, especially if the heart is weak
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with the ICU nurses and doctors.
All Intensive Care interventions and procedures carry a degree of potential risk even when performed by skilled and experienced staff. Please discuss these issues with the medical and nursing staff who are caring for your loved one.
The information contained on this page is general in nature and therefore cannot reflect individual patient variation. It is meant as a back up to specific information which will be discussed with you by the Doctors and Nurses caring for your loved one. INTENSIVE CARE HOTLINE attests to the accuracy of the information contained here BUT takes no responsibility for how it may apply to an individual Patient. Please refer to the full disclaimer.
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