Perioperative experience with amrinone.
Amrinone is the only phosphodiesterase fraction III inhibitor currently available in the USA for the treatment of perioperative biventricular failure. Patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) show down-regulation of the beta 1-adrenergic receptor with a decrease in receptor density and altered responses to catecholamines. Intravenous administration of amrinone can transiently restore beta 1-adrenergic responses in patients who have CHF. Amrinone's mechanism of vasodilatation, independent of the beta 1-adrenergic receptor, nitrates, and calcium entry blockers, proves an important therapeutic option for pulmonary hypertension. The elimination half-life of amrinone in volunteers is 2.6-4.1 h, and 3.5 h when administered into the cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) circuit. Different loading and infusion doses have been reported for amrinone. Investigators have demonstrated that increases in cardiac output following amrinone administration are directly related to plasma concentration. In cardiac surgical patients, following a dose of 0.75 mg kg-1 administered into the CPB circuit, plasma concentrations are subtherapeutic after 10 min. We believe that, when using amrinone to facilitate separation from CPB, a bolus dose of 1.5 mg kg-1 or more should be administered. If therapeutic levels need to be maintained in patients with biventricular failure, an infusion should also be administered after the bolus dose. Additive effects have been demonstrated when catecholamines are administered concomitantly with amrinone and other PDE III inhibitors to increase cyclic AMP in cardiac muscle and improve contractility. The use of amrinone with catecholamines is also important clinically, because together they attenuate the vasoconstrictive effects of catecholamines alone, while the catecholamines support perfusion pressure. Amrinone represents a novel drug for managing biventricular dysfunction in cardiac surgical patients.
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