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Minerva Anestesiologica 2020 May;86(5):537-45

DOI: 10.23736/S0375-9393.20.13826-4


language: English

Vasopressors to treat refractory septic shock

Zoé MERESSE 1, Sophie MEDAM 1, Calypso MATHIEU 1, Gary DUCLOS 1, Jean-Louis VINCENT 2, Marc LEONE 1

1 Service of Anesthesia and Resuscitation, Hôpital Nord, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Marseille, University of Aix Marseille, Marseille, France; 2 Department of Intensive Care, Erasme University Hospital, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

Norepinephrine is the first line vasopressor used in patients with septic shock. However, norepinephrine doses above 1 µg/kg/min are associated with mortality rates of over 80%, suggesting a need to implement adjunctive strategies prior to reaching this dosage. The present study therefore sought to review the existing and emergent vasopressor agents for patients with refractory septic shock. This paper summarizes the use of vasoactive drugs that may be considered in the context of refractory shock. The clinical application of present and future therapies and the related outcome are discussed. A review of the available literature indicated that vasopressin may be a good first option in patients with refractory septic shock, but evidence remains somewhat sparse. Although the use of vasopressin in these circumstances is likely preferable to the use of terlipressin, a pro-drug with an extended half-life, the use of selepressin, a pure V1 agonist, should be further assessed in future studies. Angiotensin II is another emerging option that uses a different signaling pathway. However, nitric oxide synthase inhibitors and methylene blue do not appear to be appropriate in the management of patients with refractory septic shock. In conclusion, the use of different adjunctive agents in combination with the use of norepinephrine may be useful in patients with refractory septic shock, but care must be taken to avoid excessive vasoconstriction.

KEY WORDS: Angiotensin II; Vasopressins; Terlipressin; Septic shock

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