ALTERATION OF POSTIRRADIATION HYPOTENSION AND INCAPACITATION IN THE MONKEY BY ADMINISTRATION OF VASOPRESSOR DRUGS
ARMED FORCES RADIOBIOLOGY RESEARCH INST BETHESDA MD
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The effect of vasopressor drugs on the early hypotension and incapacitation observed in monkeys following a 4-krad pulsed dose of mixed gamma-neutron radiation was investigated. Seven monkeys received only the 4- krad dose of radiation and served as controls. Norepinephrine or angiotensin was administered to five other monkeys by intravenous infusion from 5 minutes prior to irradiation until death, except that infusion was temporarily interrupted several times after irradiation of the animals. Blood pressure was continuously monitored in all animals. Drug-induced blood pressure elevation prior to irradiation did not prevent the characteristic early postirradiation fall in mean blood pressure, but severity of the resulting hypotension was reduced. Cessation of drug infusion after irradiation resulted in a rapid drop in blood pressure with the animal becoming incapacitated loss of consciousness when mean blood pressure fell below a critical level of about 50 mm Hg. After drug infusion was resumed, consciousness returned as the blood pressure rose above the critical level. This sequence was repeated several times before the animal failed to respond to drug administration and died abruptly in a hypotensive state. Five other monkeys were given a single intravenous injection of ephedrine or amphetamine 1 hour before irradiation these animals received no further treatment. Ephedrine administration appeared to be as effective at maintaining satisfactory postirradiation blood pressure as norepinephrine and angiotensin.