Effects of Levosimendan on Endothelial Function and Hemodynamics During Weaning From Veno-Arterial Extracorporeal Life Support

Fabio Sangalli, Leonello Avalli, Matteo Laratta, Francesco Formica, Elena Maggioni, Rosa Caruso, Maria Cristina Costa, Marco Guazzi, Roberto Fumagalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective Weaning from veno-arterial extracorporeal life support is challenging. The objective of this trial was to investigate the endothelial and hemodynamic effects of levosimendan in cardiogenic shock patients supported with veno-arterial extracorporeal life support. Design This was a prospective observational trial. Setting Cardiovascular intensive care unit of a large tertiary care university hospital in Monza, Italy. Participants and Interventions Flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery and hemodynamic parameters were assessed in 10 cardiogenic shock patients supported with veno-arterial extracorporeal life support, before and after the infusion of levosimendan. Measurements and Results Flow-mediated dilatation increased both as absolute value and as a percentage after levosimendan, from 0.10±0.12 to 0.61±0.21 mm (p<0.001) and from 3.2±4.2% to 17.8±10.4% (p<0.001), respectively. Cardiac index increased from 1.93±0.83 to 2.64±0.97 L/min/m2 (p = 0.008) while mixed venous oxygen saturation increased from 66.0% to 71.5% (p = 0.006) and arterial lactate levels decreased from 1.25 to 1.05 mmol/L (p = 0.004) without significant variations in arterial oxygen saturation or hemoglobin levels. This made it possible for clinicians to reduce extracorporeal membrane oxygenation blood flow from 1.92±0.65 to 1.12±0.49 L/min/m2 (p<0.001). Conclusion In conclusion, in the authors’ study population of adult cardiogenic shock patients supported with veno-arterial extracorporeal life support, their observations supported the use of levosimendan to improve endothelial function and hemodynamics and facilitate weaning from the extracorporeal support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-1453
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • cardiogenic shock
  • ECMO
  • endothelial function
  • extracorporeal life support
  • hemodynamics
  • levosimendan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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