Randomised trial of epinephrine dose and flush volume in term newborn lambs

Deepika Sankaran, Praveen K. Chandrasekharan, Sylvia F. Gugino, Carmon Koenigsknecht, Justin Helman, Jayasree Nair, Bobby Mathew, Munmun Rawat, Payam Vali, Lori Nielsen, Daniel J. Tancredi, Satyan Lakshminrusimha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: Neonatal resuscitation guidelines recommend 0.5-1 mL saline flush following 0.01-0.03 mg/kg of epinephrine via low umbilical venous catheter for persistent bradycardia despite effective positive pressure ventilation (PPV) and chest compressions (CC). We evaluated the effects of 1 mL vs 3 mL/kg flush volumes and 0.01 vs 0.03 mg/kg doses on return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and epinephrine pharmacokinetics in lambs with cardiac arrest. Design: Forty term lambs in cardiac arrest were randomised to receive 0.01 or 0.03 mg/kg epinephrine followed by 1 mL or 3 mL/kg flush after effective PPV and CC. Epinephrine (with 1 mL flush) was repeated every 3 min until ROSC or until 20 min. Haemodynamics, blood gases and plasma epinephrine concentrations were monitored. Results: Ten lambs had ROSC before epinephrine administration and 2 died during instrumentation. Among 28 lambs that received epinephrine, 2/6 in 0.01 mg/kg-1 mL flush, 3/6 in 0.01 mg/kg-3 mL/kg flush, 5/7 in 0.03 mg/kg-1 mL flush and 9/9 in 0.03 mg/kg-3 mL/kg flush achieved ROSC (p=0.02). ROSC was five times faster with 0.03 mg/kg epinephrine compared with 0.01 mg/kg (adjusted HR (95% CI) 5.08 (1.7 to 15.25)) and three times faster with 3 mL/kg flush compared with 1 mL flush (3.5 (1.27 to 9.71)). Plasma epinephrine concentrations were higher with 0.01 mg/kg-3 mL/kg flush (adjusted geometric mean ratio 6.0 (1.4 to 25.7)), 0.03 mg/kg-1 mL flush (11.3 (2.1 to 60.3)) and 0.03 mg/kg-3 mL/kg flush (11.0 (2.2 to 55.3)) compared with 0.01 mg/kg-1 mL flush. Conclusions: 0.03 mg/kg epinephrine dose with 3 mL/kg flush volume is associated with the highest ROSC rate, increases peak plasma epinephrine concentrations and hastens time to ROSC. Clinical trials evaluating optimal epinephrine dose and flush volume are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberarchdischild-2020-321034
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • cardiology
  • Neonatology
  • resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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