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Am J Surg. 1999 Dec;178(6):449-53.

The role of the gastrointestinal tract in postinjury multiple organ failure.

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Department of Surgery, University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Hermann Hospital, 77030, USA.


Despite intensive investigation, the pathogenesis of postinjury multiple organ failure (MOF) remains elusive. Laboratory and clinical research strongly implicate that the gastrointestinal tract plays a pivotal role. Shock with resulting gut hypoperfusion appears to be one important inciting event. While early studies persuasively focused attention on bacterial translocation as a unifying mechanism to explain early and late sepsis syndromes that characterize postinjury MOF, subsequent studies suggest that other gut-specific mechanisms are operational. Based on our Trauma Research Center observations and those of others, we conclude that: 1) bacterial translocation may contribute to early refractory shock; 2) for patients who survive shock, the reperfused gut appears to be a source of proinflammatory mediators that may amplify the early systemic inflammatory response syndrome; and 3) early gut hypoperfusion sets the stage for progressive gut dysfunction such that the gut becomes a reservoir for pathogens and toxins that contribute to late MOF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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