Study: Nationwide Norepinephrine Shortage Significantly Increased Chances of Death from Septic Shock

March 29, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​The nationwide shortage of norepinephrine was "significantly associated" with an increase in death from septic shock, according to a March 21, 2017, original investigation in JAMA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February of 2011 announced a "severe nationwide shortage" of norepinephrine, a first-line vasopressor for treatment of hypotension due to septic shock. The shortage lasted for one year. A retrospective cohort study of 26 hospitals reporting a shortage of norepinephrine revealed a 3.7% increase in mortality for septic shock admissions (from 35.9% to 39.6%) during periods of decreased availability of the drug. When placed in context of the estimated deaths from sepsis each year, the authors said, the shortage "may have been associated with hundreds of excess deaths."

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