Relationship between norepinephrine dose, tachycardia and outcome in septic shock: A multicentre evaluation

Roberta Domizi, Sara Calcinaro, Steve Harris, Christian Beilstein, Christiaan Boerma, Jean Daniel Chiche, Annalia D'Egidio, Elisa Damiani, Abele Donati*, Peter M. Koetsier, Mary P. Madden, Daniel F. McAuley, Andrea Morelli, Paolo Pelaia, Patrick Royer, Manu Shankar-Hari, Nadine Wickboldt, Parjam Zolfaghari, Mervyn Singer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Septic shock is associated with massive release of endogenous catecholamines. Adrenergic agents may exacerbate catecholamine toxicity and contribute to poor outcomes. We sought to determine whether an association existed between tachycardia and mortality in septic shock patients requiring norepinephrine for more than 6 h despite adequate volume resuscitation. Materials and methods: Multicentre retrospective observational study on 730 adult patients in septic shock consecutively admitted to eight European ICUs between 2011 and 2013. Three timepoints were selected: T1 (first hour of infusion of norepinephrine), Tpeak (time of highest dose during the first 24 h of treatment), and T24 (24-h post-T1). Binary logistic regression models were constructed for the three time-points. Results: Overall ICU mortality was 38.4%. Mortality was higher in those requiring high-dose (≥0.3 mcg/kg/min) versus low-dose (<0.3 mcg/kg/min) norepinephrine at T1 (53.4% vs 30.6%; p < 0.001) and T24 (61.4% vs 20.4%; p < 0.0001). Patients requiring high-dose with concurrent tachycardia had higher mortality at T1; in the low-dose group tachycardia was not associated with mortality. Resolving tachycardia (from T1 to T24) was associated with lower mortality compared to patients where tachycardia persisted (27.8% vs 46.4%; p = 0.001). Conclusions: Use of high-dose norepinephrine and concurrent tachycardia are associated with poor outcomes in septic shock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Norepinephrine
  • Outcome
  • Sepsis
  • Septic shock
  • Tachycardia
  • Vasoactive


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