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Pig Study Shows Vasopressin's Effect on Blood Flow

During septic shock, vasopressin reduces total liver blood flow, microcirculatory blood flow in pancreas

FRIDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The use of low-dose vasopressin in a pig model of septic shock caused substantial redistribution of splanchnic regional and microcirculatory blood flow, resulting in significantly lower total liver blood flow and a marked decrease in microcirculatory blood flow in the pancreas, according to research published in the December issue of Critical Care.

Vladimir Krejci, M.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues analyzed data from procedures done on 32 pigs. The pigs were assigned to one of four groups, and anesthetized and mechanically ventilated to imitate conditions in a critical care unit. Two groups were exposed to fecal peritonitis, and one sepsis group and one non-septic control group were given intravenous vasopressin.

According to the researchers, in septic shock, vasopressin decreased blood flow in the portal vein by 58 percent after an hour, but flow remained nearly unchanged in the hepatic artery and increased in the celiac trunk. Total liver blood flow decreased by 32 percent. Microcirculatory blood flow fell by 45 percent in the pancreas and 16 percent in the kidney, and remained unchanged in the liver.

"Considering these disturbances in blood flow and the fact that the safety of vasopressin in septic shock has not yet been demonstrated in humans, vasopressin should be used with great caution for treatment of hypotension in septic shock," the authors conclude.

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