How to administer inotropic drugs
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How to administer inotropic drugs

Andrew Parry Senior lecturer in critical care, Faculty of Life Sciences and Education, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, Wales

Rationale and key points

This article aims to help nurses to administer inotropic drugs in a safe, effective and patient-centred manner. The mode of action of inotropic drugs makes them well suited to treat haemodynamic compromise experienced by critically ill patients. Effects such as increased force of myocardial contraction and vasoconstriction make them highly potent.

Knowledge relating to cardiovascular physiology and the mode of action of inotropes enables the nurse to deliver inotropic drugs safely.

Invasive blood pressure monitoring should be established before administering inotropic drugs, because of their rapid action.

Inotropes should be administered via a central venous catheter.

Drug administration procedures should be followed stringently.

Reflective activity

Clinical skills articles can help update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

The ways in which this article and the useful resources have enhanced your knowledge.

How your practice, local policy and this article compare in the care of a patient receiving inotropic drugs. Could your practice be enhanced?

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at:

Nursing Standard. 30, 4, 36-39. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.4.36.e9361


Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 19 July 2014

Accepted: 15 January 2015