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Comparison of the effects of dexmedetomidine and esmolol on myocardial oxygen consumption in dogs

  • H. M. M. Willigers (a1) (a2), F. W. Prinzen (a2) and P. M. H. J. Roekaerts (a1) (a2)



Background and objective: The beta-adrenergic blocker esmolol and the alpha 2-adrenergic agonist dexmedetomidine have the potential to decrease perioperative myocardial ischaemia. The pathophysiological mechanisms involved in these anti-ischaemic properties have not been thoroughly studied. We compared the effects of esmolol and dexmedetomidine on two indices of overall myocardial oxygen demand and on directly measured myocardial oxygen consumption of the left anterior coronary artery territory.

Methods: Eleven mongrel dogs were instrumented to measure aortic and left ventricular pressure, aortic and left anterior coronary artery flow and myocardial wall thickening. Variables related to myocardial oxygen metabolism were also determined. Measurements were performed during four sequential experimental conditions in each dog (Control 1: esmolol; Control 2: dexmedetomidine).

Results: Esmolol and dexmedetomidine decreased haemodynamic indices of myocardial oxygen demand to a similar extent: esmolol decreased the rate–pressure product by 16 ± 3% and the pressure–work index (PWI) by 16 ± 3%, dexmedetomidine decreased the rate–pressure product by 26 ± 3% and the PWI by 16 ± 7%. However, these similar decreases resulted from different haemodynamic effects of the two study drugs. Dexmedetomidine had a more pronounced bradycardic effect than esmolol (P = 0.01) and increased systolic aortic pressure (SAP) by 15 ± 4% while esmolol decreased SAP by 8 ± 2% (P < 0.01). dP/dtmax and regional myocardial area decrease were lower after esmolol than after dexmedetomidine. Neither drug had an effect on myocardial oxygen consumption.

Conclusions: Esmolol and dexmedetomidine decreased two haemodynamic indices of overall myocardial oxygen demand to a similar extent but neither drug decreased directly measured myocardial oxygen consumption in the territory of the left anterior descending artery.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Paul M. H. J. Roekaerts, Department of Anaesthesiology, University Hospital Maastricht, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail:; Tel: +31 43 3875458; Fax: +31 43 3875457


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Comparison of the effects of dexmedetomidine and esmolol on myocardial oxygen consumption in dogs

  • H. M. M. Willigers (a1) (a2), F. W. Prinzen (a2) and P. M. H. J. Roekaerts (a1) (a2)


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