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Crit Care Med. 1990 May;18(5):529-36.

Effect of hemorrhagic shock on bacterial translocation, intestinal morphology, and intestinal permeability in conventional and antibiotic-decontaminated rats.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, LSU Medical Center, Shreveport 71130.


Bacterial translocation and ileal and cecal injury have been shown to occur 24 h after limited periods of hemorrhagic shock. The present studies were performed to determine the temporal sequence of mucosal injury, permeability, and bacterial translocation after hemorrhagic shock. The results indicated that bacterial translocation and mucosal injury have occurred by 2 h after a 30-min episode of shock (mean arterial pressure 30 mm Hg). Although the histologic extent of the intestinal mucosal injury was less at 2 h postshock than at 24 h postshock, at both times intestinal barrier function was lost as measured by permeability to horseradish peroxidase. Since the role of translocating bacteria in potentiating the loss of intestinal barrier function after shock is unclear, the second goal was to determine whether the extent of shock-induced mucosal injury and permeability could be reduced or abrogated by antibiotic decontamination of the gut. The extent of shock-induced mucosal injury and intestinal permeability was similar between rats with a normal gut flora (greater than 10(6) bacteria/g cecum) and antibiotic-decontaminated rats (less than 10(3) bacteria/g cecum) 2 h postshock, although the incidences of bacterial translocation were 67% and 0, respectively. Thus, shock-induced mucosal permeability and injury appear not to be directly related to the presence of translocating bacteria.

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