Heparin in experimental hyperdynamic sepsis

J. Meyer, C. S. Cox, D. N. Herndon, H. Nakazawa, C. W. Lentz, L. D. Traber, D. L. Traber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the hypothesis that heparin administration increases cardiac output and improves oxygenation in experimental hyperdynamic sepsis in sheep. Design: Prospective trial. Setting: Laboratory at a large university-affiliated medical center. Subjects: A total of 14 sheep weighing 28 to 44 kg. Interventions: All 14 chronically instrumented sheep received a continuous infusion of Escherichia coli endotoxin (10 ng/kg/min) over 24 hrs. Seven sheep received a fixed bolus of beef lung heparin (5000 units) every 4 hrs intravenously. The other seven sheep served as controls. Measurements and Main Results: The heparinized animals showed a triphasic cardiovascular response. Cardiac index increased (p < .05), and systemic vascular resistance index decreased (p < .05) at 2 hrs after the start of the endotoxin infusion (early phase, 0 to 2 hrs). Both variables returned to approximately baseline levels at 4 hrs (second period, 2 to 4 hrs). A hyperdynamic state (in terms of an increased cardiac index), a decreased systemic vascular resistance index, and a decreased mean arterial pressure (MAP) (p <.05 for all) was observed in the third phase (8 to 24 hrs). In the control group, cardiac index, systemic vascular resistance index, and MAP showed no changes in the first period, but a slight decrease in cardiac index and a slight increase in systemic vascular resistance index in the second period. The onset of the hyperdynamic state was less pronounced in the control group and cardiac index was lower (p < .05); likewise, systemic vascular resistance index was increased (p < .05) when compared with heparinized animals. Both groups developed pulmonary hypertension during the endotoxin infusion. The gas exchange in the heparin group was significantly impaired in the first and second periods, but returned to baseline levels in the hyperdynamic phase, whereas the oxygenation of the nonheparinized animals showed only minor changes in the first and second phases, but deteriorated significantly during the third phase of endotoxemia. Conclusions: In this experimental model of hyperdynamic sepsis, heparin significantly influenced the cardiopulmonary performance. Heparin preserved gas exchange and increased cardiac output but lowered systemic vascular resistance and MAP in the hyperdynamic state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • blood pressure, hyperdynamic
  • cardiac output
  • critical illness
  • endotoxin
  • gas exchange
  • heparin
  • pulmonary
  • sepsis
  • septic shock
  • vascular resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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