Understanding Adenosine (Adenocard)

So, recently, I was involved in a conversation, where the topic of Adenosine administration came up. It seems like there is a misunderstanding regarding its use and mechanism of action. Although this is not our classic ECG interpretation topic, I believe its worth talking about for a bit.

adenosine (1)

Adenosine, a Class V antiarrhythmic from the Vaughan Williams Classification, is an Endogenous Neucloside, meaning, already present in the body. In the EMS system, Adenosine is known for the treatment of Supraventricular Tachycardias (SVT), however, the reality is that, Adenosine is responsible for many actions in the body at a cellular level, depending on which receptor it binds to. During excessive reentry tachycardias (SVT), Adenosine, in simple terms, is given to slow down the overall ventricular rate.

Pharmacodynamics: 

  • ¬†Adenosine binds to A1, one of multiple Adenosine receptors, which in the SA Node, it blocks L-type Calcium Channels and reduces Calcium influx, which may lead to a decreased firing rate, known as Negative Chronotropic Effect
  • Same channels at the AV Node, decrease conductivity , known as Negative Dromotropic Effect, down to the ventricles. This is what we want to do during tachyarrhythmias, especially with reentry capabilities, to slow down the ventricular rate

However, at higher or infused doses, such as during Cardiac Stress Test, Adenosine is given often as 60 mg over 4 minutes, not the typical administration for a reentry SVT right?

When infused slowly, Adenosine may bind to A2 receptors which in the heart and vasculature, can decrease Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP)

What is cAMP?

cAMP is a second messenger used to send signals from the cell membrane to intracellular areas to release chemicals like Calcium or break down proteins. Since Calcium is required for contraction and constriction, this leads to vasodilation. Physiologic changes in response to reduced blood pressure from vasodilation lead to increase heart rate to compensate for it. Understanding this details can help recognize complications that can happen when administrating Adenosine like AV blocks, short Asystole or other problems.

Other Adenosine receptors like Purinergic Receptors, for example, P1 receptors, lead to smooth muscle relaxation in the GI tracts.

Bottom line, Adenosine has many purposes in the body, therefore, it does not “die” or “dissapears” fast, but rather, it is used rapidly by the body, which is why it should be pushed fast, and as closed to the heart as possible, in order to reach the targeted areas during a reentry tachycardia, or “SVT”.

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Comments
Tim
The most awesome STEMI test on the internet!
Thanks for the app. It made me think about all that one may see in the field. The only problem was I never got a score or saw the results of how I did other than saying I had completed the test. Anyway a great way to get the old brain working.
2014-10-30 13:14:27
Brian
83 Year Old Male: Shortness of Breath
I mostly agree with dustin. I believe this is may be an isolated posterior MI. The R wave in V2 points to it being a posterior MI. otherwise it is a 1st degree av block with a LAHB. I am somewhat concerned with the concordant t segment depression noted and in fact if you were…
2014-10-30 04:22:44
Karl Brennan
Understanding Amiodarone
Great article , however in VF caused by hyperkalemia it should be avoided along with lidocaine , Since it shuts down the K channels, the eiteiology of the arrest hyper K, K channels are needed to exchange K in the cell. Calcium , Bicarbonate, dextrose and insulin should be used to decrease K levels along…
2014-10-30 03:04:45
Dustin
83 Year Old Male: Shortness of Breath
I see a very sick and complicated patient. 12 Lead: ST elevation in AVR and V1 along with depression in I, II, V4-V6 leading me to an LMCA occlusion. The tall R wave in V2 also points me to Posterior involvement. Posterior MIs and LMCA occlusions can and do cause pulmonary edema, which this patient…
2014-10-30 02:38:21
Adrian
83 Year Old Male: Shortness of Breath
Firstly, the patient is septic, he needs high flow O2 (which he's already receiving), IV fluids, blood cultures and antibiotics (most likely IV) and needs to be in resus sharpish. Secondly, the ECG needs doing again, V2 is wrong and I'm not sure where it's been placed to get that reading. Assuming the rest of…
2014-10-30 01:00:42

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