Management of the critically ill patient often necessitates the use of multiple inotropic and vasoactive medications. This article offers a concise, clinical reference to guide the practicing clinician in the use of these agents. The focus is on parenteral agents used for acute rather than chronic management. Physiologic concepts basic to understanding the use of these agents are reviewed briefly. Sympathomimetic agents are discussed with inotropes since many of them have cardiotonic properties. Vasodilator therapy is addressed only as it is used in combination therapy. Nursing implications and treatment regimes are included
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©1992 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses