Use of vasopressin in the treatment of refractory septic shock

ABSTRACT Objective: To evaluate the short-term evolution of patients with septic shock refractory to norepinephrine treated with vasopressin in an intensive care unit of a university hospital. Methods: An unmatched retrospective study (case series) was performed. Clinical, laboratory, and anthropometric data were collected from patients who received vasopressin infusion for treatment of catecholamine-refractory shock from December 2014 to June 2016. For the assessment of severity, APACHE II and SOFA scores were used. The main outcome was mortality at 3 and 30 days. Results: A total of 80 patients were included, of which 60% were male. In 86.3% of the cases, APACHE II was observed in the highest ranges (> 20). The 30-day mortality was 86.2%, and 75% of the patients died within 72 hours after starting vasopressin. Conclusion: The series evaluated had high mortality in the first 72 hours of treatment with vasopressin. The use of vasopressin in patients who are refractory to norepinephrine had little or no impact on mortality. It was not possible to exclude the possibility that the high mortality in the present study was linked to the relatively late onset (after established refractoriness of norepinephrine) of vasopressin; this hypothesis should be further evaluated in a randomized study.