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BACKGROUND: Disparity between the macro- and microcirculation is thought to occur as a result of (micro)vascular dysfunction in some types of shock. Whether this occurs during hemorrhagic shock, however, is unknown. We therefore investigated both macro- and microcirculatory variables in the heart as a vital organ and the gut as a nonvital organ. We hypothesized that the microcirculation in the gut would follow the macrocirculation in the acute phase of hemorrhagic shock and isovolemic autologous whole blood resuscitation, but that the microcirculation in the heart would be preserved even under conditions of macrocirculatory depression.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Eleven pigs (23 ± 4 kg) were anesthetized and subjected to a controlled hemorrhagic shock (30 and 45% reduction of total blood volume) and isovolemic resuscitation with autologous blood. Quantitative measurement of microvascular oxygen pressures (µpO2) was performed by phosphorimetry on the gut and heart simultaneously. Measurements of systemic hemodynamic and regional oxygen-derived variables as well as µpO2 were performed at baseline, after the first and second phases of hemorrhage, and after resuscitation.

RESULTS: Five pigs responded to resuscitation, while six pigs died spontaneously within 20 to 30 minutes after reinfusion of the withdrawn blood, without significant differences in macro- or microcirculatory variables at baseline and after hemorrhage. Correlation analysis showed that microvascular pO2 in the heart and the gut were closely related to macrocirculatory variables (cardiac index, mean arterial pressure, and oxygen delivery) during hemorrhage and resuscitation.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that the microcirculation in the gut (being a nonvital organ) and heart (being a vital organ) follow the macrocirculation in the acute phase of hemorrhagic shock and isovolemic autologous whole blood resuscitation.