Use of beta-blockers for the treatment of cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation/pulseless ventricular tachycardia: A systematic review

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Oliveira, Felipe Carvalho de
Feitosa-Filho, Gilson Soares
Fonteles Ritt, Luiz Eduardo [UNIFESP]
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Introduction: Advanced Life Support guidelines recommend the use of epinephrine during Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), as to increase coronary blood flow and perfusion pressure through its alpha-adrenergic peripheral vasoconstriction, allowing minimal rises in coronary perfusion pressure to make defibrillation possible. Contrasting to these alpha-adrenergic effects, epinephrine's beta-stimulation may have deleterious effects through an increase in myocardial oxygen consumption and a reduction of subendocardial perfusion, leading to postresuscitation cardiac dysfunction.Objective: the present paper consists of a systematic review of the literature regarding the use of beta-blockade in cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation (VF) and pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VT).Methods: Studies were identified through MEDLINE electronic databases research and were included those regarding the use of beta-blockade during CPR.Results: Beta-blockade has been extensively studied in animal models of CPR. These studies not only suggest that beta-blockade could reduce myocardial oxygen requirements and the number of shocks necessary for defibrillation, but also improve postresuscitation myocardial function, diminish arrhythmia recurrences and prolong survival. A few case reports described successful beta-blockade use in patients, along with two prospective human studies, suggesting that it could be safe and effectively used during cardiac arrest in humans.Conclusion: Even though the existing literature points toward a beneficial effect of beta-blockade in patients presenting with cardiac arrest due to VF/pulseless VT, high quality human trials are still lacking to answer this question definitely. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Resuscitation. Clare: Elsevier B.V., v. 83, n. 6, p. 674-683, 2012.