Intraoperative vasopressor use during emergency surgery on injured meth users

Alexandra Marie Edwards, Eric Gregory Johnson, Andrew C. Bernard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background Methamphetamine is a growing drug of abuse in America. Patients with recent methamphetamine use pose potential complications to general anesthesia due to changes in hemodynamics and arrhythmias. Limited data exists on the incidence of intraoperative complications on methamphetamine-intoxicated patients requiring urgent or emergent trauma surgery. This study aims to describe intraoperative complications observed in methamphetamine and amphetamine-intoxicated patients requiring emergent surgery. Methods Using the Trauma Registry at our ACS-verified level I trauma center, we completed a single-center, descriptive, retrospective cohort review between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2016, of adult patients requiring emergent surgery with a positive urine-drug screen for methamphetamines or amphetamines. The objective was to evaluate vasopressor utilization during surgical operation. Results A total of 92 patients were identified with a positive UDS for amphetamine and/or methamphetamine who went to the operating room within 24 hours of admission. Thirty-two (34%) patients received one or more (≥1) doses of vasopressor, while 60 patients (66%) received no vasopressor. Changes in mean arterial pressure (MAP) were noted in 64%, while only 3% experienced an EKG change. A binomial logistic regression showed age, base deficit and change in MAP to be predictive of vasopressor use (p<0.002). No intraoperative cardiac events or anesthetic complications were seen. Discussion Hemodynamic instability in the amphetamine and methamphetamine-intoxicated population may be more directly related to degree of resuscitation required, than the presence of a positive UDS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000553
JournalTrauma Surgery and Acute Care Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 11 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • anesthesia
  • hypotension
  • methamphetamine
  • vasopressins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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