Background: Conventional resuscitation (CR) from hemorrhagic shock (HS) often restores and maintains hemodynamics but fails to restore intestinal perfusion. Post-CR intestinal ischemia has been implicated in the initiation of a gut-derived exaggerated systemic inflammatory response and in the progressive organ failure following HS. We propose that intestinal ischemia can be prevented with hypertonic saline resuscitation (HTSR). Methods: Anesthetized male Sprague-Dawley rats (200 to 215 g) were hemorrhaged to 50% of mean arterial pressure (MAP) for 60 minutes and randomly assigned to 1 of the resuscitation groups (n = 7 each): Group I: sham operation and no HS; Group II: HS + CR with the return of the shed blood + 2 volumes of normal saline (NS); Group III: HS + return of the shed blood + hypertonic saline (HTS); (7.5 % NaCl, 4 ml/kg); Group IV: HS + HTS, then return of the shed blood after 60 minutes; Group V: HS + HTS, then 1 volume of NS after 60 minutes. Microvascular diameters of inflow (A1) and proximal and distal premucosal arterioles (A3) in terminal ileum and flow in A1 were measured using in vivo videomicroscopy and optical Doppler velocimetry. Hematocrit, plasma osmolarity, and electrolytes were measured in Groups II and III. Results: HS caused a selective vasoconstriction in A1 arterioles that was not seen in the premucosal arterioles. CR restored and maintained MAP and caused generalized, progressive vasoconstriction at all intestinal arteriolar levels that is associated with hypoperfusion. HTSR failed to restore or maintain MAP or intestinal A1 arteriolar blood flow until the shed blood was returned. However, HTSR prevented the post-resuscitation, premucosal vasoconstriction and produced an insidious selective vasodilation in the A3 arterioles, which was most significant with early blood return (Group III). This selective arteriolar vasoactivity was associated with a significant improvement of endothelial cell function. Plasma hyperosmolality and hypernatremia persisted during the entire 2 hours post-resuscitation with HTS. Conclusions: Small-volume HTSR can be used as a resuscitation regimen at the trauma scene and for selective clinical conditions where hypotensive resuscitation is indicated. HTSR improves intestinal perfusion by selective vasodilation of the precapillary arterioles even at MAP close to shock levels.
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