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Initiating angiotensin II at lower vasopressor doses in vasodilatory shock: an exploratory post-hoc analysis of the ATHOS-3 clinical trial

June 28, 2023

Background
High dose vasopressors portend poor outcome in vasodilatory shock. We aimed to evaluate the impact of baseline vasopressor dose on outcomes in patients treated with angiotensin II (AT II).
Methods
Exploratory post-hoc analysis of the Angiotensin II for the Treatment of High-Output Shock (ATHOS-3) trial data. The ATHOS-3 trial randomized 321 patients with vasodilatory shock, who remained hypotensive (mean arterial pressure of 55–70 mmHg) despite receiving standard of care vasopressor support at a norepinephrine-equivalent dose (NED) > 0.2 μg/kg/min, to receive AT II or placebo, both in addition to standard of care vasopressors. Patients were grouped into low (≤ 0.25 μg/kg/min; n = 104) or high (> 0.25 μg/kg/min; n = 217) NED at the time of study drug initiation. The primary outcome was the difference in 28-day survival between the AT II and placebo subgroups in those with a baseline NED ≤ 0.25 μg/kg/min at the time of study drug initiation.
Results
Of 321 patients, the median baseline NED in the low-NED subgroup was similar in the AT II (n = 56) and pla- cebo (n = 48) groups (median of each arm 0.21 μg/kg/min, p = 0.45). In the high-NED subgroup, the median baseline NEDs were also similar (0.47 μg/kg/min AT II group, n = 107 vs. 0.45 μg/kg/min placebo group, n = 110, p = 0.75). After adjusting for severity of illness, those randomized to AT II in the low-NED subgroup were half as likely to die at 28-days compared to placebo (HR 0.509; 95% CI 0.274–0.945, p = 0.03). No differences in 28-day survival between AT II and pla- cebo groups were found in the high-NED subgroup (HR 0.933; 95% CI 0.644–1.350, p = 0.71). Serious adverse events were less frequent in the low-NED AT II subgroup compared to the placebo low-NED subgroup, though differences were not statistically significant, and were comparable in the high-NED subgroups.
Conclusions This exploratory post-hoc analysis of phase 3 clinical trial data suggests a potential benefit of AT II introduction at lower doses of other vasopressor agents. These data may inform design of a prospective trial.
Trial registration: The ATHOS-3 trial was registered in the clinicaltrials.gov repository (no. NCT02338843). Registered 14 January 2015.
Keywords Angiotensin, Shock, Vasopressor, Catecholamine, Multimodal, Outcomes