The Use of Methylene Blue in Conjunction With Hydroxocobalamin and Multiple Pressors to Treat Severe Vasoplegia in a Patient Due to Calcium Channel Blocker Toxicity: A Case Report


East Florida


Westside Regional Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



anesthesiology, calcium channel blockers, critical care medicine, hydroxocobalamin, methylene blue, vasoplegia


Anesthesiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Medicine and Health Sciences | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms


Vasoplegia, the demonstration of persistently low systemic vascular resistance (SVR) and resistant hypotension in the presence of a normal cardiac index despite aggressive resuscitation attempts, is a serious clinical diagnosis that requires prompt treatment to prevent patient morbidity and mortality. Currently, treatment of vasoplegia involves treatment with vasopressors such as vasopressin, norepinephrine, and hydroxocobalamin. However, some evidence suggests that in addition to this treatment regimen, the addition of methylene blue may result in a reduction in overall norepinephrine equivalent vasopressor requirements, increased mean arterial pressure, and an improved clinical course. Here, we report the case of a 64-year-old male patient who presented to the ED after being found unresponsive and covered in emesis at home. The patient's presentation was complicated by worsening dyspnea, hypotension, and hemodynamic instability, requiring intubation and admission to the ICU for management of undifferentiated shock of unclear etiology and acute respiratory failure. Urine studies were consistent with a diagnosis of vasoplegia due to dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker toxicity, which was confirmed by pill counting of his home medications in the setting of recent paranoia and depression. The patient was treated aggressively with vasopressors, including vasopressin, phenylephrine, and epinephrine, as well as a combination of hydroxocobalamin and methylene blue. He was also started on a calcium and insulin drip. Upon initiation of non-catecholamine agents for vasoplegia, his clinical course quickly improved, and he was weaned from all vasopressors. He regained hemodynamic stability, was successfully extubated, evaluated by psychiatry, and discharged from the hospital in a stable condition on day 15 with the continuation of outpatient psychiatric services.

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