Mortality, morbidity & clinical outcome with different types of vasopressors in out of hospital cardiac arrest patients- a systematic review and meta-analysis

Subhash Chander, Om Parkash, Sindhu Luhana, Abhi Chand Lohana, Fnu Sadarat, Fnu Sapna, Fnu Raja, Zubair Rahaman, Yaqub Nadeem Mohammed, Sheena Shiwlani, N. F.N. Kiran, Hong Yu Wang, Sam Tan, Roopa Kumari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background & objective: Despite their continued use, the effectiveness and safety of vasopressors in post-cardiac arrest patients remain controversial. This study examined the efficacy of various vasopressors in cardiac arrest patients in terms of clinical, morbidity, and mortality outcomes. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was performed using online databases (MeSH terms: MEDLINE (Ovid), CENTRAL (Cochrane Library), Embase (Ovid), CINAHL, Scopus, and Google Scholar) from 1997 to 2023 for relevant English language studies. The primary outcomes of interest for this study included short-term survival leading to death, return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), survival to hospital discharge, neurological outcomes, survival to hospital admission, myocardial infarction, and incidence of arrhythmias. Results: In this meta-analysis, 26 studies, including 16 RCTs and ten non-RCTs, were evaluated. The focus was on the efficacy of epinephrine, vasopressin, methylprednisolone, dopamine, and their combinations in medical emergencies. Epinephrine treatment was associated with better odds of survival to hospital discharge (OR = 1.52, 95%CI [1.20, 1.94]; p < 0.001) and achieving ROSC (OR = 3.60, 95% CI [3.45, 3.76], P < 0.00001)) over placebo but not in other outcomes of interest such as short-term survival/ death at 28–30 days, survival to hospital admission, or neurological function. In addition, our analysis indicates non-superiority of vasopressin or epinephrine vasopressin-plus-epinephrine therapy over epinephrine monotherapy except for survival to hospital admission where the combinatorial therapy was associated with better outcome (0.76, 95%CI [0.64, 0.92]; p = 0.004). Similarly, we noted the non-superiority of vasopressin-plus-methylprednisolone versus placebo. Finally, while higher odds of survival to hospital discharge (OR = 3.35, 95%CI [1.81, 6.2]; p < 0.001) and ROSC (OR = 2.87, 95%CI [1.97, 4.19]; p < 0.001) favoring placebo over VSE therapy were observed, the risk of lethal arrhythmia was not statistically significant. There was insufficient literature to assess the effects of dopamine versus other treatment modalities meta-analytically. Conclusion: This meta-analysis indicated that only epinephrine yielded superior outcomes among vasopressors than placebo, albeit limited to survival to hospital discharge and ROSC. Additionally, we demonstrate the non-superiority of vasopressin over epinephrine, although vasopressin could not be compared to placebo due to the paucity of data. The addition of vasopressin to epinephrine treatment only improved survival to hospital admission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number283
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Ionotropic
  • Return of spontaneous circulation
  • ROSC
  • Vasopressors


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