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The Effects of Terlipressin on Regional Hemodynamics and Kidney Function in Experimental Hyperdynamic Sepsis
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Author: Ken Ishikawa et al.

by Ken Ishikawa, Li Wan, Paolo Calzavacca, Rinaldo Bellomo, Michael Bailey, Clive N. May

Background and Aims

Although terlipressin (TP) may improve renal function in cirrhotic patients, its use in sepsis remains controversial due to concerns about regional ischemia. We investigated the effects of TP on regional hemodynamics and kidney function in experimental hyperdynamic sepsis.


We studied thirteen merino ewes in a university physiology laboratory using a randomized controlled cross over design. We implanted flow probes around the pulmonary, circumflex coronary, superior mesenteric, renal and iliac arteries. We injected live Escherichia coli and induced hyperdynamic sepsis. We treated animals with either bolus vehicle or a single dose of TP (sTP?=?1 mg). In a second group, after 1 mg of TP, two additional bolus injections (mTP) of 0.5 mg were given at 2 hourly intervals.

Main Results

sTP (1 mg) significantly increased mean arterial pressure (MAP) (74 to 89 mmHg; P<0.0001) creatinine clearance (31 to 85 mL/min; P<0.0001) and urine output (24 to 307 mL/hr) (P<0.0001). However, it decreased CO (5.7 to 3.9 L/min; p<0.0001), coronary blood flow (CBF) (43 to 32 mL/min; p<0.0001) and mesenteric blood flow (MBF) (944 to 625 mL/min; p?=?0.004) and increased blood lactate (2.1 to 4.0 mmol/L; p<0.0001). Extra doses of TP caused little additional effect.


In hyperdynamic sepsis, bolus TP transiently improves MAP and renal function, but reduces CO, CBF and MBF, and increases blood lactate. Caution should be applied when prescribing bolus TP in septic patients at risk of coronary or mesenteric ischemia.