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Anesthesiology. 1997 Apr;86(4):818-24.

Effects of a dobutamine-induced increase in splanchnic blood flow on hepatic metabolic activity in patients with septic shock.

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  • 1Sektion Operative Intensivmedizin, Universitätsklinik für Anästhesiologie, Klinikum der Universität, Ulm, Germany.



Septic shock leads to increased splanchnic blood flow (Qspl) and oxygen consumption (VO2spl). The increased Qspl, however may not match the splanchnic oxygen demand, resulting in hepatic dysfunction. This concept of ongoing tissue hypoxia that can be relieved by increasing splanchnic oxygen delivery (DO2spl), however, was challenged because most of the elevated VO2spl was attributed to increased hepatic glucose production (HGP) resulting from increased substrate delivery. Therefore the authors tested the hypothesis that a dobutamine-induced increase in Qspl and DO2spl leads to increased VO2spl associated with accelerated HGP in patients with septic shock.


Twelve patients with hyperdynamic septic shock in whom blood pressure had been stabilized (mean arterial pressure > or = 70 mmHg) with volume resuscitation and norepinephrine received dobutamine to obtain a 20% increase in cardiac index (CI). Qspl, DO2spl, and VO2spl were assessed using the steady-state indocyanine green clearance technique with correction for hepatic dye extraction, and HGP was determined from the plasma appearance rate of stable, non-radio-active-labeled glucose using a primed-constant infusion approach.


Although the increase in CI resulted in a similar increase in Qspl (from 0.91 +/- 0.21 to 1.21 +/- 0.34l.min-1.m2; P < 0.001) producing a parallel increase of DO2spl (from 141 +/- 33 to 182 +/- 44 ml.min-1.m2; P < 0.001), there was no effect on VO2spl (73 +/- 16 and 82 +/- 21 ml.min-1.m2, respectively). Hepatic glucose production decreased from 5.1 +/- 1.6 to 3.6 +/- 0.9 mg.kg-1.min-1 (P < 0.001).


In the patients with septic shock in whom blood pressure had been stabilized with volume resuscitation and norepinephrine, no delivery-dependency of VO2spl could be detected. Oxygen consumption was not related to the accelerated HGP either, and thus the concept that HGP dominates VO2spl must be questioned in well-resuscitated patients with septic shock.

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