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Vasopressors and Inotropes⁠

Vasopressors and inotropes

Vasopressors and inotropes OH NO! 🙇🏻‍♀️ These medications are commonly used in the critical care setting in patients with shock (or those with extremely low blood pressure) leading to end-organ damage (acute kidney injury, increased LFTs, etc.). ⁠

👉🏻 Vasopressors are drugs that cause vasoconstriction, therefore increasing mean arterial pressure (MAP). Vaso refers to blood vessels and pressor means to put pressure on or constrict making up the word – VASO-pressor. 🩸⁠

Examples of vasopressors include:⁠

⭐ Norepinephrine⁠
⭐ Epinephrine⁠
⭐ Vasopressin⁠
⭐ Phenylephrine⁠

👉🏻 Inotropes are drugs that affect cardiac contractility (or the force of muscular contractions). They can also be used as chronotropes (drugs that increase heart rate). THINK: Ino = strength; Chrono = time. Some vasopressors may also have effects on contractility and are called inopressors. ⁠

Examples of positive inotropic agents include: ⁠

⭐ Milrinone⁠
⭐ Dobutamine⁠
⭐ Dopamine⁠
⭐ Isoproterenone⁠

🧠 With the many different types of vasopressors and inotropes, it is important to understand how they work to use them effectively. Choosing the wrong agent or using it inappropriately, can harm the patient. ⁠

Want to learn more? Check out this Vasopressor and Inotrope Mnemonic Workbook for a more in depth review!