Low-dose terlipressin during long-term hyperdynamic porcine endotoxemia: Effects on hepatosplanchnic perfusion, oxygen exchange, and metabolism*

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To investigate whether the vasopressin analog terlipressin might induce hepatosplanchnic ischemia during long-term, hyperdynamic, volume-resuscitated porcine endotoxemia.


Prospective, randomized, controlled experimental study with repeated measures.


Investigational animal laboratory.


Eighteen pigs were divided into two groups receiving either endotoxin alone (control group, n = 10) or endotoxin and terlipressin (n = 8).


Pigs were anesthetized, mechanically ventilated, and instrumented and received a continuous intravenous infusion of Escherichia coli endotoxin. Animals were resuscitated with hydroxyethyl starch targeted to maintain mean arterial pressure >60 mm Hg. Twelve hours after the start of the endotoxin infusion, terlipressin (5–15 μg·kg−1·hr−1 titrated to maintain mean arterial pressure at preendotoxin levels) or its vehicle was administered for 12 hrs.

Measurements and Main Results:

Terlipressin increased mean arterial pressure and systemic vascular resistances, which was affiliated with a decrease in cardiac output and global oxygen consumption. Terlipressin restored the hepatic artery buffer response, which led to an increase in hepatic artery flow, ultimately resulting in well-maintained liver oxygen delivery, oxygen uptake, and all other variables of regional metabolism and organ function. Terlipressin markedly attenuated the hepatosplanchnic venous acidosis but was associated with pronounced hyperlactatemia.


During long-term hyperdynamic porcine endotoxemia, the well-known vasoconstrictor properties of terlipressin blunted the progressive decrease in mean arterial pressure without any detrimental effect on hepatosplanchnic perfusion, oxygen exchange, and metabolism. The marked terlipressin-induced hyperlactatemia did not originate from the hepatosplanchnic organs but from extrasplanchnic tissues, possibly muscle and skin.

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