Bailey JM. Levy JH. Kikura M. Szlam F. Hug CC Jr. Pharmacokinetics of intravenous milrinone in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Anesthesiology. 1994;81(3):616-22.


    Milrinone is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor with positive inotropic and vasodilator effects that are useful in the treatment of ventricular dysfunction after cardiac surgery.  However, the pharmacokinetics of the drug have been investigated only in healthy volunteers and in patients with chronic congestive heart failure.  This study investigates the pharmacokinetics of milrinone in adult cardiac surgical patients after cardiopulmonary bypass. Milrinone was administered to 25 patients just before or immediately after separation from cardiopulmonary bypass.  Arterial blood was sampled over the next 16 h and milrinone plasma concentrations were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Data were analyzed by extended nonlinear least-squares regression.  The relation between milrinone plasma concentration and hemodynamic effect was examined in an additional 11 patients who had cardiac indices less than 2.5 l.min-1.m-2 immediately after separation from cardiopulmonary bypass.  Milrinone was administered and plasma concentrations were related to changes in cardiac index during the next 10 min. A milrinone dose of 50 micrograms/kg in conjunction with an infusion of 0.5 consistently maintained plasma concentrations in excess of 100 ng/ml.  A triexponential equation describing the plasma concentration as a function of time was used to describe the data.  Central-compartment volume was 102 ml/kg, volume of distribution was 1,698 ml/kg, and elimination clearance was 1.88  Pharmacokinetic parameters were independent of dose.  The relation between plasma concentration and percentage increase in cardiac index could be described by a sigmoidal curve with the plasma concentration associated with a 50% increase in cardiac index equal to 167 ng/ml.  The authors conclude that a milrinone dose of 50 micrograms/kg with an infusion at 0.5 maintains plasma concentrations at or above the threshold of therapeutic effects.