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Anesth Analg. 2003 Dec;97(6):1756-63.

The effects of vasopressin on systemic and splanchnic hemodynamics and metabolism in endotoxin shock.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Kuopio University Hospital, Finland.


We compared the effects of vasopressin and norepinephrine on systemic and splanchnic circulation and metabolism in endotoxin shock in pigs. Twenty-one pigs were randomized to endotoxin shock (Escherichia coli endotoxin infusion) (n = 6), endotoxin and vasopressin (VASO; n = 6), endotoxin and norepinephrine (NE; n = 6), and controls (n = 3). Endotoxin infusion was increased to induce hypotension, after which vasopressin or norepinephrine was started to keep systemic mean arterial blood pressure >70 mm Hg. Regional blood flows and arterial and regional lactate concentrations were measured. Tonometers with microdialysis capillaries were inserted into the stomach, jejunum, and colon. Systemic mean arterial blood pressure >70 mm Hg was achieved in the VASO and NE groups. Vasopressin decreased cardiac output, superior mesenteric artery, and portal vein blood flow, whereas hepatic arterial blood flow increased. Arterial lactate concentration increased from 2.0 mM (1.6-2.1 mM) to 4.7 mM (4.7-4.9 mM) (P = 0.007). Systemic and mesenteric oxygen delivery and consumption decreased and oxygen extraction increased in the VASO group. Vasopressin increased mucosal-arterial PCO(2) gradients in all three locations, whereas luminal lactate release occurred only in the jejunum. Animals in the NE group remained stable. Vasopressin reversed hypotension but decreased systemic and gut blood flow. This was associated with hyperlactatemia, signs of visceral dysoxia, and jejunal luminal lactate release.


Although vasopressin induces vasoconstriction in visceral region, its effects on splanchnic circulation and metabolism during septic-endotoxin shock are still poorly characterized. We evaluated the metabolic and hemodynamic effects of vasopressin and norepinephrine within the splanchnic area in porcine endotoxin shock.

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