The data here reported (Table I) show that a toxin is present in the blood of animals with two types of irreversible hypovolemic shock. These data also show that although blood volume therapy does not correct the hypovolemia because of continuing loss of plasma at the site of injury, the major factor in the progressive decline and death is the endotoxemia rather than the hypovolemia. This is also true of severe and prolonged hemorrhagic shock that is irreversible to transfusion. The data also show that even when there is bacterial activity at the site of injury, the pool of endotoxin in the intestine is the chief source of the circulating endotoxin.
In all three types of shock, the endotoxemia develops because persisting hypovolemic shock renders the RE system unable to destroy the endotoxin.
The demonstration of an endotoxemia as the cause of irreversibility and death in three types of traumatic shock caused by three different agents suggests that a single pathophysiological mechanism accounts for the phenomenon of irreversibility in all types of traumatic shock.