Effect of vasopressors on organ blood flow during endotoxin shock in pigs

M. J. Breslow, C. F. Miller, S. D. Parker, A. T. Walman, R. J. Traystman

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142 Scopus citations


A volume-resuscitated porcine endotoxin shock model was used to evaluate the effect on organ blood flow of increasing systemic arterial blood pressure with vasopressors. Administration of 0.05-0.2 mg/kg of Escherichia coli endotoxin (E) reduced mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) to 50 mmHg, decreased systemic vascular resistance to 50% of control, and did not change cardiac output or heart rate. Blood flow to brain, kidney, spleen, and skeletal muscle was reduced during endotoxin shock, but blood flow to left ventricle, small and large intestine, and stomach remained at pre-endotoxin levels throughout the study period. Four groups of animals were used to evaluate the effect of vasopressor therapy. A control group received E and no vasopressor, whereas the other three groups received either norepinephrine, dopamine, or phenylephrine. Vasopressors were administered starting 60 min after E exposure, and the dose of each was titrated to increase MAP to 75 mmHg. Despite the increase in MAP, brain blood flow did not increase in any group. Norepinephrine alone increased blood flow to the left ventricle. Kidney, splanchnic, and skeletal muscle blood flow did not change with vasopressor administration. The dose of norepinephrine required to increase MAP by 20-25 mmHg during E shock was 30 times the dose required for a similar increase in MAP in animals not receiving E. We conclude 1) that hypotension in the fluid resuscitated porcine E shock model is primarily the result of peripheral vasodilatation, 2) that the vascular response to vasoconstrictors in this model is markedly attenuated following E administration, 3) that blood pressure elevation with norepinephrine, dopamine, and phenylephrine neither decreases blood flow to any organ nor increases blood flow to organs with reduced flow, and 4) that norepinephrine, dopamine, and phenylephrine affect regional blood flow similarly in this model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21/2
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 10 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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