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Vasoplegia treatments: the past, the present, and the future

Bruno Levy, Caroline Fritz, Elsa Tahon, Audrey Jacquot, Thomas Auchet, Antoine Kimmoun
Critical Care: the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum 2018 February 27, 22 (1): 52
Vasoplegia is a ubiquitous phenomenon in all advanced shock states, including septic, cardiogenic, hemorrhagic, and anaphylactic shock. Its pathophysiology is complex, involving various mechanisms in vascular smooth muscle cells such as G protein-coupled receptor desensitization (adrenoceptors, vasopressin 1 receptors, angiotensin type 1 receptors), alteration of second messenger pathways, critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency, and increased production of nitric oxide. This review, based on a critical appraisal of the literature, discusses the main current treatments and future approaches. Our improved understanding of these mechanisms is progressively changing our therapeutic approach to vasoplegia from a standardized to a personalized multimodal treatment with the prescription of several vasopressors. While norepinephrine is confirmed as first line therapy for the treatment of vasoplegia, the latest Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines also consider that the best therapeutic management of vascular hyporesponsiveness to vasopressors could be a combination of multiple vasopressors, including norepinephrine and early prescription of vasopressin. This new approach is seemingly justified by the need to limit adrenoceptor desensitization as well as sympathetic overactivation given its subsequent deleterious impacts on hemodynamics and inflammation. Finally, based on new pathophysiological data, two potential drugs, selepressin and angiotensin II, are currently being evaluated.


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