Response to dopamine in prematurity: A biomarker for brain injury?

Z. A. Vesoulis, N. E. Ters, A. Foster, S. B. Trivedi, S. M. Liao, A. M. Mathur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective : To identify factors associated with responsiveness to dopamine therapy for hypotension and the relationship to brain injury in a cohort of preterm infants. Study Design : The pharmacy database at St Louis Children's Hospital was retrospectively queried to identify infants who (a) were born <28 weeks gestation between 2012 and 2014, (b) received dopamine and (c) had blood pressure measurements from an umbilical arterial catheter. A control group was constructed from contemporaneous infants who did not receive dopamine. Mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) at baseline, 1 h and 3 h after initiating dopamine were obtained for each dopamine-exposed infant. MABP measurements at matched time points were obtained in the control group.Result:Sixty-nine dopamine-treated and 45 control infants were included. Mean ΔMABP at 3 h was 4.5±6.3 mm of Hg for treated infants vs 1±2.9 for the control. Median dopamine starting dose was 2.5 μg kg -1 min -1. Dopamine-treated infants were less mature and of lower birth weight while also more likely to be intubated at 72 h, diagnosed with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) and to die. Failure to respond to dopamine was associated with greater likelihood of developing IVH (odds ratio (OR) 5.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-42.3), while a strong response (ΔMABP>10 mm Hg) was associated with a reduction in risk of IVH (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.01-0.8). Conclusion : Low-moderate dose dopamine administration results in modest blood pressure improvements. A lack of response to dopamine is associated with a greater risk of IVH, whereas a strong response is associated with a decreased risk. Further research into underlying mechanisms and management strategies is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


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