Vasopressin for Asystole?, EM Today: Vasopressin for Asystole?
I’m always suspicious when a drug that’s been around for a while turns out to have previously undiscovered powers. Such is the case with vasopressin:

The January 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine includes an article suggesting that vasopressin may be superior to epinephrine for patients in asystolic cardiac arrest (Wenzel et al for the European Resuscitation Council Vasopressor During Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Study Group: “A Comparison of Vasopressin and Epinephrine for Out-of-Hospital Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation,” NEJM 2004;350:105-113.)

An accompanying editorial grabbed the attention of the popular press with the statement that the study’s findings “should be translated into a new standard of care without delay.”

Not so fast, says ACEP in the above linked article. This definitely warrants more study, but is far from standard of care.

And, let’s not forget that when you wind up in aysytole, the game’s usually over anyway.


  1. Oh yeah, I remember going through this with this project I was put in charge of – to go through the office crash carts and update their contents (they were still stocked with calcium chloride, believe it or not). I priced vasopressin vs. epinephrine and said, “We’re sticking with epinephrine… we probably won’t have to use the stuff anyway and I’m not paying that kind of money.”

    I agree with you, it’s not likely to make that big a difference.

  2. I didn’t realize that assholes NEEDED vasopressin: a good old fashion whupping, yeah, but some of that “V” stuff too???

    Wow, I learn so much on this board!! :-)

  3. Hehe. Jim cracks me up!