Effects of dopamine, dobutamine, and dopexamine on microcirculatory blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract during sepsis and anesthesia
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CitationAnesthesiology 2004, 100(5):1188-97
AbstractBACKGROUND: Insufficient blood flow to the splanchnic organs is believed to be an important contributory factor for the development of organ failure after septic shock. It has been suggested that increasing systemic flow also may improve splanchnic blood flow in septic patients. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of three commonly used inotropic agents, dopamine, dobutamine, and dopexamine, on systemic (cardiac index), regional (superior mesenteric artery), and local (micro-circulatory) blood flow during septic shock in pigs. METHODS: Eight pigs were intravenously anesthetized, mechanically ventilated, and exposed to sepsis induced by fecal peritonitis. Cardiac index was measured with thermodilution, superior mesenteric artery flow was measured with ultrasound transit time flowmetry, and microcirculatory blood flow was continuously measured with a six-channel laser Doppler flowmetry in the gastric, jejunal, and colon mucosa as well as in the kidney, pancreas, and jejunal muscularis. Each animal received, in a random-order, crossover design, the three test drugs, one at a time: 5 and 10 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) dopamine, 5 and 10 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) dobutamine, and 1 and 2 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) dopexamine. Administration of each drug at each dose continued for 30 min and was followed by a 40- to 60-min recovery period. A new baseline was taken before the next drug was administered. RESULTS: All three drugs significantly increased cardiac index; dopamine by 18%, dobutamine by 48%, and dopexamine by 35%, compared with baseline (P < 0.001 for each). At the same time, superior mesenteric artery flow increased by 33% (P < 0.01) with dopamine and 13% (P < 0.01) with dopexamine, whereas it did not change with dobutamine. Microcirculatory blood flow did not change significantly in any of the organs studied with any of the drugs tested. CONCLUSION: All the inotropic agents markedly increased cardiac output in this sepsis model. However, increased systemic flow did not reach the microcirculation in the gastrointestinal tract. This may in part explain why some of the clinical trials, in which systemic oxygen delivery was deliberately increased by administration of inotropic drugs, have failed to improve survival in critically ill patients.
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