OBJECTIVE - We performed a multicenter study of preterm infants, who were about to undergo patent ductus arteriosus ligation, to determine whether echocardiographic indices of impaired myocardial performance were associated with subsequent development of catecholamine-resistant hypotension following ligation.
STUDY DESIGN - A standardized treatment approach for hypotension was followed at each center. Infants were considered to have catecholamine-resistant hypotension if their dopamine infusion was > 15 μg kg(-1)min(-1). Echocardiograms and cortisol measurements were obtained between 6 and 14 h after the ligation (prior to the presence of catecholamine-resistant hypotension).
RESULT - Forty-five infants were enrolled, 10 received catecholamines (6 were catecholamine-responsive and 4 developed catecholamine-resistant hypotension). Catecholamine-resistant hypotension was not associated with decreased preload, shortening fraction or ventricular output. Infants with catecholamine-resistant hypotension had significantly lower levels of systemic vascular resistance and postoperative cortisol concentration.
CONCLUSION - We speculate that low cortisol levels and impaired vascular tone may have a more important role than impaired cardiac performance in post-ligation catecholamine-resistant hypotension.