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The comparison of humeral intraosseous and intravenous administration of vasopressin on return of spontaneous circulation and pharmacokinetics in a hypovolemic cardiac arrest swine model

Mark H. Wimmer, BSN, Kenneth Heffner, BSN, Michael Smithers, BSN, Richard Culley, BSN, Jennifer Coyner, PhD, CRNA, Michael Loughren, PhD, CRNA, Don Johnson, PhD


Introduction: The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends intravenous (IV) or intraosseous (IO) vasopressin in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). Obtaining IV access in hypovolemic cardiac arrest patients can be difficult, and IO access is often obtained in these life threatening situations. No studies have been conducted to determine the effects of humeral IO (HIO) access with vasopressin in the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). Our study compared the kinetics of vasopressin and ROSC with HIO with IV access in the hypovolemic swine model.

Methods: Twenty-two Yorkshire swine were divided into three groups: HIO (n = 7), IV (n = 8), and a control group (n = 7). The IV and HIO group received vasopressin and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), while the control group received only CPR. All subjects were exsanguinated 31 percent of their blood volume, placed in cardiac arrest, and resuscitated per ACLS. Subjects that achieved ROSC were then monitored for 20 minutes. Blood samples (10 mL) collected at 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, and 4 minutes after vasopressin injection and analyzed for maximum concentration (Cmax) and time to maximum concentration (Tmax). Data were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and a Fisher's Exact Test.

Results: ROSC was achieved in every subject that received vasopressin via the HIO route. Data analysis using a MANOVA pairwise comparison revealed no difference between mean Cmax (p = 0.601) and Tmax (p = 0.771) of vasopressin administered IV versus HIO routes. Analysis of the mean serum concentrations at time intervals using a repeated measures analysis of variance found no difference (p > 0.05). A Fisher's Exact Test revealed no difference in rate of ROSC between HIO and IV groups (p > 0.05). Odds ratio determined that there was a 33 times higher chance of survival among HIO subjects versus control (CPR and Defibrillation; p = 0.03) and no difference in the survivability of the HIO or IV groups (p = 0.52).

Conclusion: The data from this study strongly suggest that there is no significant difference in ROSC, time to ROSC, hemodynamics, or pharmacokinetics between HIO vasopressin and IV vasopressin. This research reinforces current AHA guidelines recommending the use of HIO route early over delaying care awaiting IV access.


intraosseous, humerus, vasopressin, cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, pharmacokinetics

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