Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a continuing series highlighting researchers sponsored by the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) and illustrating the impact EMF-funded research is having on emergency medicine.
Study Title: Effect of methylene blue on mortality in a porcine model of amlodipine toxicity
Authors: Jenna M. LeRoy, MD; Sean Boley, MD; K.M. Engebretsen, PharmD; Jackie Kelly, MD; Samuel J. Stellpflug, MD, FACEP
- Dr. LeRoy is an attending emergency physician and clinical toxicologist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, and assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
- Dr. Boley is an emergency physician at United Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.
- Dr. Engebretsen is a clinical pharmacist and toxicologist at Regions Hospital.
- Dr. Kelly is a quality fellow at HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research and an emergency physician at Regions Hospital.
- Dr. Stellpflug is an attending emergency physician and clinical toxicologist at Regions Hospital and associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Cardiovascular medication overdose causes significant morbidity and mortality in the United States. In 2015, the National Poison Data System (NPDS) responded to more than 2.1 million exposures, with 103,339 related to cardiovascular drugs. Cardiovascular drugs were the seventh most frequently involved substance and are now rated as the NPDS top fourth category with the greatest rate of increase in exposure. Despite maximal supportive pharmacologic therapy, including vasopressor administration, high-dose insulin therapy, lipid emulsion therapy, and extracorporeal life support, there are still cases of refractory shock leading to death. In vitro studies on canine arteries exposed to amlodipine have shown that it stimulates release of nitric oxide (NO), leading to peripheral vasodilation. Amlodipine overdose could, therefore, be managed by scavenging NO. Methylene blue (MB) inhibits NO directly but also inhibits NO production by inhibiting guanylyl cyclase and endothelial NO synthase activity. We developed a porcine model of amlodipine toxicity and compared the effects of MB to traditional vasopressor therapy with norepinephrine (NE). Time to death was the primary outcome.
The pigs were anesthetized and instrumented with monitoring devices according to previous protocols in our institution, and a pilot study was first completed to establish a lethal model of amlodipine toxicity. Each of the two groups of animals received a toxic dose of amlodipine. A continuous infusion of amlodipine with accelerating doses was given to mimic overdose and continuing gastrointestinal absorption. After 70 minutes of amlodipine infusion, each group was resuscitated with 20 mL/kg of normal saline. Animals in each group were then randomized to receive either MB or NE therapy. Hemodynamic parameters, including mean arterial pressure and cardiac output, were measured every 10 minutes.
The primary outcome was time to death. Survival times were compared using a Kaplan-Meier analysis, and the two groups were compared with the log-rank test. The study was powered at 80 percent to detect a hazard ratio of 0.2 (MB versus NE), assuming a two-sided log-rank test with alpha=0.05. Nine animals per group were required for adequate power.