CARDIOVASCULAR ASPECTS OF EXPERIMENTAL MENINGOCOCCAL SEPSIS IN YOUNG AND OLDER AWAKE PIGLETS: AGE-RELATED DIFFERENCES


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Abstract

Severe meningococcal disease is characterized by: a high load of specific endotoxin, capillary leakage and coagulation disorders. We studied the possible age-related differences in global hemodynamic and regional blood flow responses to different dosages (1 and 10 μg/kg body weight) of rough meningococcal endotoxin in young (8 kg) and older piglets (40 kg). Animals were chronically instrumented and studied in the awake state. The response to plasma infusion (30 mL/kg in 30 min) was evaluated after placebo and endotoxin infusion. The clinical picture was similar in all groups. The mortality was 0/8, 3/8, 1/8, 4/9 in young-low, young-high, old-low, and old-high dose respectively. Most important findings were that cardiac index (Cl) decreased in the young animals after endotoxin infusion, while it was well preserved in the older animals; in the older animals the systemic vascular resistance dropped 20%, while in the younger ones there was no change in resistance. Conductance to the kidneys, intestines, and spleen decreased significantly more in the young animals, while the increase in conductance and flow to the liver was higher in the old animals; subsequent volume loading resulted only partly in a recovery of the hemodynamic parameters, but failed to improve oxygen delivery.

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