Survivors of both human and animal bacterial shock develop a characteristic pattern of progressive changes in cardiovascular function over a period of 7-10 d. In this present study, we examined whether endotoxin (a product of Gram-negative bacteria) or TNF (a cytokine released from macrophages) could reproduce the same complex cardiovascular changes observed in septic shock over a period of 7-10 d. To test this hypothesis, we implanted a thrombin-fibrin clot containing purified endotoxin from E. coli into the peritoneal cavity of eight dogs, and infused TNF into eight different dogs. Over the next 10 d, serial simultaneous heart scans and thermodilution cardiac outputs were performed in these awake nonsedated animals. By day 2 after challenge with either endotoxin or TNF, animals developed a decrease (p less than 0.05) in both mean arterial pressure and left ventricular ejection fraction. With fluid resuscitation, animals manifested left ventricular dilatation (increased [p less than 0.05] end diastolic volume index), increased or normal cardiac index, and decreased or normal systemic vascular resistance index. In surviving animals, these changes returned to normal with 7-10 d. The time course of these changes was concordant (p less than 0.05) with that previously described in a canine model of septic shock using viable bacteria. During the 10-d study, control animals receiving sterile clots or heat-inactivated TNF had not significant changes in hemodynamics. The results from this canine model demonstrate that either endotoxin or TNF alone can produce many of the same hemodynamic abnormalities seen in human septic shock and in a canine septic shock model induced by live bacteria. These findings support the hypothesis that the action of endogenous mediators (TNF) responding to bacterial products (endotoxin) is the common pathway that produces the serial cardiovascular changes found in septic shock.

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