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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 Feb;300(2):H685-92. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00930.2010. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Hypertonic sodium resuscitation after hemorrhage improves hemodynamic function by stimulating cardiac, but not renal, sympathetic nerve activity.

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Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


Small volume hypertonic saline resuscitation can be beneficial for treating hemorrhagic shock, but the mechanism remains poorly defined. We investigated the effects of hemorrhagic resuscitation with hypertonic saline on cardiac (CSNA) and renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) and the resulting cardiovascular consequences. Studies were performed on conscious sheep instrumented with cardiac (n=7) and renal (n=6) sympathetic nerve recording electrodes and a pulmonary artery flow probe. Hemorrhage (20 ml/kg over 20 min) caused hypotension and tachycardia followed by bradycardia, reduced cardiac output, and abolition of CSNA and RSNA. Resuscitation with intravenous hypertonic saline (1.2 mol/l at 2 ml/kg) caused rapid, dramatic increases in mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and CSNA, but had no effect on RSNA. In contrast, isotonic saline resuscitation (12 ml/kg) had a much delayed and smaller effect on CSNA, less effect on mean arterial pressure, no effect on heart rate, but stimulated RSNA, although the plasma volume expansion was similar. Intracarotid infusion of hypertonic saline (1 ml/min bilaterally, n=5) caused similar changes to intravenous administration, indicating a cerebral component to the effects of hypertonic saline. In further experiments, contractility (maximum change in pressure over time), heart rate, and cardiac output increased significantly more with intravenous hypertonic saline (2 ml/kg) than with Gelofusine (6 ml/kg) after hemorrhage; the effects of hypertonic saline were attenuated by the β-receptor antagonist propranolol (n=6). These results demonstrate a novel neural mechanism for the effects of hypertonic saline resuscitation, comprising cerebral stimulation of CSNA by sodium chloride to improve cardiac output by increasing cardiac contractility and rate and inhibition of RSNA.

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