In a situation where a patient's heart isn't strong enough for surgery, why isn't it common for a doctor to give the patient epinephrine before the surgery? Do the effects of epinephrine not last long enough, or have potentially harmful effects in larger quantities?

Edit: Is it that the patient's blood flow is also increased when using epinephrine, making blood loss more significant?

| |
  • As we used to say, we only give adrenaline to dead people, though I guess these days people have epipens. – Graham Chiu Jan 26 '18 at 1:05
  • Adrenaline (epinephrine) is sometimes used in local surgeries to cause vasoconstriction. However, when absorbed into the systemic circulation, it can cause tachycardias and unnecessary vasoconstrictions, therefore, it should not be used in patients with heart problems. – program Jul 28 at 15:59

Generally, in intensive care medicine there are variants of catecholamines (the general class epinephrine belongs to) that can be applied to increase heart output. However, there are various drawbacks to this therapy, including putting increased strain on an already strained muscle and the effect of e. g. epinephrine on all the other organs of the body.

For side effects of epinephrine and catecholamines in general see e. g. here: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Adverse-and-beneficial-effects-of-catecholamines_tbl1_316052992

| |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.