Outpatient intermittent dobutamine therapy in congestive heart failure

F. Oliva, E. Gronda, M. Frigerio, G. Comerio, M. Manglavacchi, G. Masciocco, B. Andreuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients with severe heart failure often progress to the condition where oral agents alone are inadequate to maintain a clinically compensated state. The use of outpatient intravenous inotropic therapy is contentious because it may hasten the progression of the underlying disease or aggravate existing ventricular dysrhythmia. We describe the clinical outcome of 40 pts with severe congestive heart failure (CHF) treated with outpatient dobutamine (D) therapy. Methods: Outpatient inotropic therapy with D was started in 40 pts (36 males, 4 females, mean age 56.3 ± 9 years) with chronic CHF and persistence of severe symptoms despite maximal oral therapy. All the pts had required hospitalization with need for i.v. inotropic therapy during the previous 6 months (mean hospital stay 41 ± 28 days). At baseline 35 pts were in NYHA class IV, 5 in class III, mean echo LVEF was 23 ± 5%, cardiac index 1.8 ± 0.4 l/min/m2, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure 22 ± 9.4 mmHg. 18 pts were listed for heart transplantation (HTx). D was infused with portable pumps via permanent i.v. catheters and the mean dose was 3.0 ± 0.83 μg/kg/min (range 2-5). The duration of home infusion period was 60 ± 30 h/week (range 24-168). Results: During follow-up (mean 393 ± 482 days, range 10-2182) NYHA class improved (III = 32 - IV = 8). There were 19 hospitalizations in 14 pts (mean hospital stay 12.7 ± 4 days). All the listed pts underwent HTx with 1 intrahospital death, 1 late death (1591 days for lung cancer) and 16 long-term survivors (mean post-operation follow-up 936 ± 215 days). Fourteen not listed pts died after prolonged support (580 ± 252 days - 13 for irreversible HF, accounting for the majority of rehospitalizations and I suddenly while not on D infusion). One pt developed non-fatal SVT during D infusion. There were no mechanical or infectious complications related to the device. Conclusions: Low-dose outpatient D therapy improved NYHA class and decreased hospitalization in pts with refractory CHF without major deleterious effects that may impact adversely on survival on the waiting list.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-32
Number of pages5
JournalZeitschrift fur Kardiologie
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Congestive heart failure
  • Dobutamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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