The haemodynamic effects of dobutamine, a new synthetic catecholamine, were studied in 12 patients with severe congestive heart failure and compared with those of dopamine in 10 clinically similar patients. Dobutamine produced a distinct increase in cardiac index, while lowering left ventricular end-diastolic pressure and leaving mean aortic pressure unchanged. Dopamine also significantly improved cardiac index, but at the expense of a greater increase in heart rate than occurred with dobutamine. Dopamine was ineffective in lowering left ventricular end-diastolic pressure, but increased mean aortic pressure. We conclude that dobutamine is an effective, positive inotropic agent in patients with severe congestive heart failure. Because it has comparatively little effect on heart rate and aortic pressure, both major determinants of myocardial oxygen consumption, it may be of special value in patients with the low output syndrome associated with coronary heart disease.
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