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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 175

Renal dose dopamine in acute renal failure

Department of Nephrology, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prashanthigram, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh - 515 134, India

Correspondence Address:
V Siva Kumar
Department of Nephrology, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prashanthigram, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh - 515 134
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Keywords: Dopamine; Acute Renal Failure.

How to cite this article:
Kumar V S. Renal dose dopamine in acute renal failure. Indian J Urol 2000;16:175

How to cite this URL:
Kumar V S. Renal dose dopamine in acute renal failure. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2000 [cited 2023 Jan 28];16:175. Available from:

Compromised renal function and fall in urinary output is a common accompaniment in seriously ill patients. Be­cause of its renal sparing potential low dose dopamine has been in wide usage in intensive care units for the pre­vention and treatment of acute renal failure. [1]

In healthy experimental animals or in humans, dopamine infusion was found to be having effect on dopamine recep­tors, beta- and alpha- adrenergic receptors at different in­crements of dosage. At low doses (0.5-3micrograms/kg/ minutes) dopamine was found to be causing intrarenal vasodilation and inhibition of Na-K ATPase system of proximal tubule and thick ascending limb of Henle and collecting duct, resulting in increase of renal blood flow, glomerular filtration rate and natriuresis. This response was mediated through the action of dopamine on doma­mine receptors (D l like and D2 like). At intermediate dose (3-10 micrograms/kg/minute) through the action on beta 1 adrenoceptors, it was found to increase cardiac index and may result in augmentation of renal perfusion. At high doses (5-20 micrograms/kg/minute) the potential benefits obtained through mediation of dopamine and beta 1 receptors were offset by systemic vasoconstriction trig­gered by alpha 1 adrenergic stimulation. Thus it was ob­served that there was significant overlap in receptor acti­vation at various doses, there was intra and inter individual differences in the degree of effect and there was also poor correlation between dose of infusion of dopamine and its plasma levels. The response to dopamine was also vari­able in disease states like volume depletion, myocardial dysfunction and in the states of abnormal vasculature like atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Hence no dose is clearly only "renal-dose dopamine" as reported in literature. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

Denton et al in their detailed review on the existing lit­erature on renal-dose dopamine, found no scientifically proven utility of renal-dose dopamine either in the pre­vention of acute renal failure or in the treatment of estab­lished acute renal failure. As most of the studies were not controlled and their statistical power was low, they con­cluded that there is a need for a well-controlled randomized prospective trial to asses the efficacy of dopamine in acute renal failure. [5]

Renal-dose dopamine was found to be associated with a number of serious adverse effects like myocardial ische­mia, tachyarrhythmias, myocardial infarction, depression of ventilatory drive, gut mucosal ischemia, hypokalemia and hypophosphatemia and digital gangrene. [1],[5]

To conclude, low dose dopamine did not improve sur­vival or obviate the need for dialysis in acute renal fail­ure. If a trial of renal-dose dopamine is initiated by its proponents, its response should be assessed within 6 hours. If there is no improvement it is prudent to discontinue the drug, to avoid its potential toxicity and cost. [6]

   References Top

1.Thompson BT, Cockrill BA. Renal dose dopamine: a siren song? Lancet 1994; 344: 7-8.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  
2.Hussain T, Lokhandwala ME Renal dopamine receptor function in hypertension. Hypertension 1998; 32:187-197.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Lameire N, Verbeke M. Vanholder R. Prevention of clinical acute tubular necrosis with drug therapy. Nephrology Dialysis Transplan­tation 1995; 10:1992-2000.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Ravi T, Manuel P, Joseph VB. Acute renal failure. N Engl J Med 1996; 334:1448-1460.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Denton MD, Chertow GM, Brady HR. Renal dose dopamine for the treatment of acute renal failure. Scientific rationale, experimental studies and clinical trials. Kidney Int 1996; 50: 4-14.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Vijayan A, Miller SB. Acute renal failure: prevention and non dia­lytic therapy. Semin Nephrol 1998; 18: 523-532.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  


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