BACKGROUND: Circulatory failure in preterm and term newborn infants is commonly treated with inotropes or vasoactive medications. In this structured literature review, the available data on pharmacodynamic effects of the inotropes adrenaline, dobutamine, dopamine, levosimendan, milrinone, noradrenaline, and the vasoactive drugs vasopressin and hydrocortisone are presented.
METHODS: Structured searches were conducted to identify relevant articles according to pre-defined inclusion criteria which were human clinical trials published after 2000.
RESULTS: Out of 101 identified eligible studies only 22 studies met the criteria for evidence based practice guidelines level I to IV. The most prevalent pharmacodynamic effects were increase in blood pressure and/or heart rate, which were also the most frequently studied circulatory parameters.
CONCLUSIONS: This review demonstrates the need for further systematic studies on all reviewed drugs with incorporation of novel non-invasive biomarkers in this vulnerable patient group, for more timely and appropriate treatment for clinical efficacy.