Skip to main content

An individual patient meta-analysis of clinical trials using dopexamine to increase oxygen delivery in high-risk surgical patients


Postoperative outcomes may be improved if cardiac output and oxygen delivery are maintained at optimal levels. Trials of the use of dopexamine for this purpose have yielded inconsistent results. This may relate to the use of high doses in some trials. A meta-analysis of data from these trials may therefore identify a benefit of low-dose dopexamine on postoperative mortality and length of stay.


A comprehensive literature review was performed to identify published randomised trials of perioperative dopexamine infusion in patients undergoing major surgery. Individual patient data were obtained, allowing a meta-regression approach to explore mortality outcomes after correction for age and dose of dopexamine. A Cox proportional hazards model was constructed to examine the length of stay.


Five studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria [15]. Low-dose dopexamine (≤1 μg/kg/min) was associated with a 49% reduction in 28-day mortality (6.3% vs 12.3%; OR = 0.51 (95% CI 0.29–0.89), P = 0.008). The length of postoperative stay was also reduced in the low-dose dopexamine group compared with control (median 13 vs 15 days, HR 0.75 (95% CI 0.65–0.88), P = 0.004). High-dose dopexamine (>1 μg/kg/min) was not associated with a difference in mortality (14.5% vs 12.3%; OR = 1.18 (95% CI 0.67–2.08), P = 0.37) or length of stay (median 17 vs 15 days, HR 1.10 (95% CI 0.90–1.34), P = 0.37) when compared with controls.


Perioperative use of low-dose dopexamine decreases mortality and duration of hospital stay in patients undergoing major surgery.


  1. Boyd O, et al.: JAMA. 1993, 270: 2699-2707. 10.1001/jama.270.22.2699

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Wilson J, et al.: BMJ. 1999, 318: 1099-1103.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Takala J, et al.: Crit Care Med. 2000, 28: 3417-3423. 10.1097/00003246-200010000-00007

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Stone MD, et al.: Br J Anaesth. 2003, 91: 619-624. 10.1093/bja/aeg245

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Pearse R, et al.: Crit Care. 2005, 9: 687-693. 10.1186/cc3887

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Belsey, J., Pearse, R., Cole, J. et al. An individual patient meta-analysis of clinical trials using dopexamine to increase oxygen delivery in high-risk surgical patients. Crit Care 11 (Suppl 2), P315 (2007).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: