Vitamin B12 for the treatment of vasoplegia in cardiac surgery and liver transplantation: a narrative review of cases and potential biochemical mechanisms.Can J Anaesth 2019CJ
Hydroxocobalamin, or vitamin B12 (V-B12), is frequently used to treat smoke inhalation and cyanide poisoning. Recent reports have also described its use to treat vasoplegia in cardiac surgery and liver transplantation. This narrative review discusses this "off-label" indication for V-B12, focusing on the potential biochemical mechanisms of its actions.
PubMed, Cochrane, and Web of Science databases were searched for clinical reports on the use of V-B12 for vasoplegia in cardiac surgery and liver transplantation, with the biochemical mechanisms discussed being based on a survey of the related biochemistry literature.
Forty-four patients have been treated with V-B12 for vasoplegia in various isolated case reports and one series. Although 75% of patients have increased blood pressure in response to V-B12, there were some "non-responders". The true efficacy remains unknown because clinical trials have not been performed, and significant reporting bias likely exists. Plausible biochemical explanations exist for the potential beneficial effects of V-B12 in treating vasoplegia, including binding nitric oxide and other gasotransmitters. Additional research is required to clarify if and how these mechanisms are causally involved in effective clinical responders and non-responders.
Although anecdotal reports utilizing V-B12 for vasoplegia are available, no higher-level evidence exists. Future work is necessary to further understand the dosing, timing, adverse events, and biochemical mechanisms of V-B12 compared with other therapies such as methylene blue.