Evaluating Vasopressor Discontinuation Strategies in Patients With Septic Shock on Concomitant Norepinephrine and Vasopressin Infusions

Nadine Musallam, Diana Altshuler, Cristian Merchan, Bishoy Zakhary, Caitlin Aberle, John Papadopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Background: There is little data guiding clinicians on how to discontinue vasopressors among septic shock patients on concomitant norepinephrine (NE) and vasopressin (VP). Objective: To determine the incidence of hypotension within 24 hours of discontinuing NE (NE DC first) versus VP (VP DC first) first in septic shock patients. Methods: This retrospective study evaluated septic shock patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit (MICU) and surgical ICU (SICU) receiving concomitant NE and VP. Receipt of additional vasopressors, mixed shock states, expired or care withdrawn, and NE and VP discontinued simultaneously were exclusion criteria. The primary outcome was incidence of hypotension within 24 hours of first vasopressor discontinuation. Secondary outcomes included time to hypotension, hospital length of stay (LOS), ICU LOS, and ICU mortality. Results: A total of 80 patients were included (NE DC first [n = 35]; VP DC first [n = 45]), with a median age of 73 years and median modified Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores of 21 and 7, respectively. More patients in the NE DC first group were in the SICU (42.9% vs 20.0%; P = 0.048) with more intra-abdominal infections (40.0% vs 15.6%; P = 0.021) and fewer appropriate empirical antibiotics (62.9% vs 86.7%; P = 0.018). Hypotension within 24 hours of first agent discontinuation was higher in the VP DC first group (28.6% vs 62.2%; P = 0.004), with similar hospital LOS and ICU mortality. Multivariate analysis identified VP DC first as an independent predictor of hypotension (odds ratio = 7.2; CI = 2.3-22.7). Conclusion: Among septic shock patients on concomitant NE and VP, discontinuation of VP first was associated with an increased incidence of hypotension; future prospective control trials are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-739
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • discontinuation
  • hypotension
  • norepinephrine
  • septic shock
  • vasopressin
  • vasopressin deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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