Beneficial effect of epinephrine infusion on cerebral and myocardial blood flows during CPR

Raymond C. Koehler, John R. Michael, Alan D. Guerci, Nisha Chandra, Charles L. Schleien, J. Michael Dean, Mark C. Rogers, Myron L. Weisfeldt, Richard J. Traystman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is hypothesized that epinephrine improves the ability to resuscitate the heart through a mechanism thought to be related to the increase in aortic pressure. Our results with epinephrine infusion during CPR are consistent with this hypothesis. Epinephrine selectively increased vascular resistance in noncerebral, noncoronary vascular beds, as indicated by a decrease in microsphere-determined blood flow in these areas. This increased vascular resistance raised aortic pressure during the chest compression phase and the relaxation phase of CPR. Because intracranial and right atrial pressures were only slightly higher with epinephrine, cerebral and myocardial perfusion pressures and blood flows were significantly improved. This beneficial effect (compared to no administration of a vasopressor) was more pronounced as CPR progressed beyond ten minutes. Enhanced cerebral and myocardial perfusion occurred with epinephrine when either the conventional or simultaneous compression and ventilation (SCV) mode of CPR was employed in dogs. Similar selective perfusion was sustained for 50 minutes of SCV-CPR with epinephrine, even when the onset of CPR was delayed five minutes. Regional brain blood flow differed in the delayed-CPR group in that cerebellum, brain stem, and thalamic regions initially had higher blood flows. In an infant animal model of CPR using conventional CPR in piglets, epinephrine also was found to increase cerebral and myocardial blood flows. These results show that administration of epinephrine benefits different age groups of different species with different modes of CPR; that benefits occur even with delayed onset of CPR which is associated with additional anoxia and acidosis; and that epinephrine administration is particularly effective in sustaining cerebral and coronary perfusion during prolonged CPR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-749
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1985


  • CPR
  • brain blood flow
  • epinephrine
  • myocardial blood flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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