Public Centered Outcomes on Vasopressor Use in the ICU: Patient & Public Engagement


The aim of the study is to explore the perceptions and values of patients, families and the public about the use of vasopressors in critically ill patients. One-third of ICU patients are prone to circulatory shock, increasing the risk of mortality by 40%. Vasopressors are used to treat low blood pressure in patients with shock. These medications tighten blood vessels to increase blood pressure, redistribute pooled blood and send blood to more vital organs. These medications also make the heart have faster and stronger contractions. Vasopressors don't treat the cause of low blood pressure, but they help stabilize patients while doctors investigate the cause.

Vasopressors help treat patients in life-threatening situations, but there are potential short- and long-term risks associated with their use. Side effects can include abnormal or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, lack of blood to the extremities, and tissue death. Healthcare professionals are faced with balancing the risks of low blood pressure with vasopressor-related risks. There are many kinds of vasopressors and choosing one depends widely on the patient's condition and healthcare professional choice. However, the use of vasopressors may override patient wishes.

Therefore, understanding the personal values of patients is important for clear and informed decisions when it comes to vasopressor use and its related risks. Vasopressor therapy is often given to ICU patients without informed consent (as part of the standard of care) and the literature lacks an understanding of patient-important outcomes.


Currently recruiting participants: Yes

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 18 to 100

Accepts healthy participants: Yes

Inclusion criteria:

1) 18 years of age or older.
2) Able to read, speak English or French to comprehend and participate in interview/focus group questions
3) Be either a former ICU patient, the family member (caregiver/family/friend) of an ICU patient or a member of the general public.
4) Living in Canada

The study aims to identify public important characteristics of vasopressor therapy, therefore patients and family members/caregivers/friends of an ICU patient who may have undergone vasopressor infusion are sought. However, any member of the public interested in providing their perceptions is also welcomed to participate.


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If interested, please fill out the following screening survey: A member of the research team will contact you after completing the screening survey if you are eligible for the study to schedule an interview or focus group. Please direct any questions to

Principal investigator:

Kirsten Fiest

Clinical trial: