The effects of low molecular weight dextran (LMWD) infusion, on gas exchange and haemodynamics were evaluated in sheep during endotoxin shock. The infusion of LMWD was started after signs of shock and lung injury were evident. After a stabilization period 10 micrograms kg-1 E. Coli endotoxin was infused i.v.. Endotoxin infusion resulted in an marked increase in pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) and decrease in mean arterial pressure (MAP), respiratory compliance, arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) and oxygen delivery index (DO2l). After 3 h MAP, PaO2, DO2l and compliance improved significantly in LMWD treated animals. The PAP had also decreased significantly in the LMWD-treated animals, but remained high in the controls (P less than 0.01). It was concluded that LMWD infusion improves haemodynamics and gas-exchange in sheep during endotoxin shock.
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