Bolus Vasopressor Use for Air Medical Rapid Sequence Intubation: The Vasopressor Intravenous Push to Enhance Resuscitation Trial


Daniel P. Davis, MD; David Olvera, BA, NRP, FP-C, CMTE; William Selde, MD; John Wilmas, MD; David Stuhlmiller, MD



Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) may compromise perfusion because of the use of sympatholytic medications as well as subsequent positive pressure ventilation. The use of bolus vasopressor agents may reverse hypotension and prevent arrest.


This was a prospective, observational study enrolling air medical patients with critical peri-RSI hypotension (systolic blood pressure [SBP] < 90 mm Hg) to receive either arginine vasopressin (aVP), 2 U intravenously every 5 minutes, for trauma patients or phenylephrine (PE), 200 μg intravenously every 5 minutes, for nontrauma patients. The main outcome measures included an increase in SBP, a reversal of hypotension, and the occurrence of dysrhythmia or hypertension (SBP > 160 mm Hg) within 20 minutes of vasopressor administration.


A total of 523 patients (344 aVP and 179 PE) were enrolled over 2 years. An increase in SBP was observed in 326 aVP patients (95%), with reversal of hypotension in 272 patients (79%). An increase in SBP was observed in 171 PE patients (96%), with reversal of hypotension in 148 patients (83%). A low rate of rebound hypertension was observed for both aVP and PE patients.


Both aVP and PE appear to be safe and effective for treating critical hypotension in the peri-RSI period.

Click below to read the full research paper published by the Air Medical Journal.