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Crit Care. 2010;14(4):R140. doi: 10.1186/cc9205. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

Cerebral microcirculation is impaired during sepsis: an experimental study.

Author information

1
Department of Intensive Care, Erasme Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Route de Lennik 808, 1070 Bruxelles, Belgium. ftaccone@ulb.ac.be

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Pathophysiology of brain dysfunction due to sepsis remains poorly understood. Cerebral microcirculatory alterations may play a role; however, experimental data are scarce. This study sought to investigate whether the cerebral microcirculation is altered in a clinically relevant animal model of septic shock.

METHODS:

Fifteen anesthetized, invasively monitored, and mechanically ventilated female sheep were allocated to a sham procedure (n = 5) or sepsis (n = 10), in which peritonitis was induced by intra-abdominal injection of autologous faeces. Animals were observed until spontaneous death or for a maximum of 20 hours. In addition to global hemodynamic assessment, the microcirculation of the cerebral cortex was evaluated using Sidestream Dark-Field (SDF) videomicroscopy at baseline, 6 hours, 12 hours and at shock onset. At least five images of 20 seconds each from separate areas were recorded at each time point and stored under a random number to be analyzed, using a semi-quantitative method, by an investigator blinded to time and condition.

RESULTS:

All septic animals developed a hyperdynamic state associated with organ dysfunction and, ultimately, septic shock. In the septic animals, there was a progressive decrease in cerebral total perfused vessel density (from 5.9 ± 0.9 at baseline to 4.8 ± 0.7 n/mm at shock onset, P = 0.009), functional capillary density (from 2.8 ± 0.4 to 2.1 ± 0.7 n/mm, P = 0.049), the proportion of small perfused vessels (from 95 ± 3 to 85 ± 8%, P = 0.02), and the total number of perfused capillaries (from 22.7 ± 2.7 to 17.5 ± 5.2 n/mm, P = 0.04). There were no significant changes in microcirculatory flow index over time. In sham animals, the cerebral microcirculation was unaltered during the study period.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this model of peritonitis, the cerebral microcirculation was impaired during sepsis, with a significant reduction in perfused small vessels at the onset of septic shock. These alterations may play a role in the pathogenesis of septic encephalopathy.

PMID:
20667108
PMCID:
PMC2945121
DOI:
10.1186/cc9205
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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