Editorials

Dopamine in oliguria

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7082.690 (Published 08 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:690

Should be used for specific conditions, not as prophylaxis

  1. Brian H Cuthbertson, Intavent clinical research fellow of the Association of Anaesthetists and Royal College of Anaesthetistsa,
  2. David W Noble, Consultant in anaesthesia and intensive carea
  1. a Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen AB25 2ZN

    Renal failure often manifests as oliguria. Many therefore view oliguria as a sinister development that should be prevented or treated in the hope of avoiding renal failure. However, oliguria can be a normal physiological response and, in itself, is a poor predictor of acute renal failure.1 2 Nevertheless, dopamine infusions have gained popularity over the past 20 years as a means to prevent or treat oliguria.

    Dopamine is usually infused at low to intermediate rates of 2-5 μg/kg/min. The perceived beneficial effects include increased cardiac output, improved renal perfusion, reduced tubular metabolic activity, diuresis, and natriuresis. Thus, dopamine is used in a variety of clinical settings to prevent or ameliorate renal injury or hasten restoration of renal function.3 4 Cardiac failure and fluid overload have also been …

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