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An updated “norepinephrine equivalent” score in intensive care as a marker of shock severity

May 28, 2023

Abstract
Vasopressors and fluids are the cornerstones for the treatment of shock. The current international guidelines on shock recommend norepinephrine as the first-line vasopressor and vasopressin as the second-line vasopressor. In clinical practice, due to drug availability, local practice variations, special settings, and ongoing research, several alternative vasoconstrictors and adjuncts are used in the absence of precise equivalent doses. Norepinephrine equivalence (NEE) is frequently used in clinical trials to overcome this heterogeneity and describe vasopressor support in a standardized manner. NEE quantifies the total amount of vasopressors, considering the potency of each such agent, which typically includes catecholamines, derivatives, and vasopressin. Intensive care studies use NEE as an eligibility criterion and also an outcome measure. On the other hand, NEE has several pitfalls which clinicians should know, important the lack of conversion of novel vasopressors such as angiotensin II and also adjuncts such as methylene blue, including a lack of high-quality data to support the equation and validate its predictive performance in all types of critical care practice. This review describes the history of NEE and suggests an updated formula incorporating novel vasopressors and adjuncts.
Keywords
Norepinephrine, Norepinephrine equivalence, Vasopressor, Hemodynamic management, Vasopressin, Angiotensin II, Methylene blue