Treatment of uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock after liver trauma: fatal effects of fluid resuscitation versus improved outcome after vasopressin

Anesth Analg. 2004 Jun;98(6):1759-1766. doi: 10.1213/01.ANE.0000117150.29361.5A.


In a porcine model of uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock, we evaluated the effects of vasopressin versus an equal volume of saline placebo versus fluid resuscitation on hemodynamic variables and short-term survival. Twenty-one anesthetized pigs were subjected to severe liver injury. When mean arterial blood pressure was <20 mm Hg and heart rate decreased, pigs randomly received either vasopressin IV (0.4 U/kg; n = 7), an equal volume of saline placebo (n = 7), or fluid resuscitation (1000 mL each of lactated Ringer's solution and hetastarch; n = 7). Thirty minutes after intervention, surviving pigs were fluid resuscitated while bleeding was surgically controlled. Mean (+/- SEM) arterial blood pressure 5 min after the intervention was significantly (P < 0.05) higher after vasopressin than with saline placebo or fluid resuscitation (58 +/- 9 versus 7 +/- 3 versus 32 +/- 6 mm Hg, respectively). Vasopressin improved abdominal organ blood flow but did not cause further blood loss (vasopressin versus saline placebo versus fluid resuscitation 10 min after intervention, 1343 +/- 60 versus 1350 +/- 22 versus 2536 +/- 93 mL, respectively; P < 0.01). Seven of 7 vasopressin pigs survived until bleeding was controlled and 60 min thereafter, whereas 7 of 7 saline placebo and 7 of 7 fluid resuscitation pigs died (P < 0.01). We conclude that vasopressin, but not saline placebo or fluid resuscitation, significantly improves short-term survival during uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock.

Implications: Although IV fluid administration is the mainstay of nonsurgical management of trauma patients with uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock, the efficacy of this strategy has been discussed controversially. In this animal model of severe liver trauma with uncontrolled hemorrhagic shock, vasopressin, but not saline placebo or fluid resuscitation, improved short-term survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity / drug effects
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / methods*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology
  • Liver Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Resuscitation / methods*
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / drug therapy
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / physiopathology
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / therapy*
  • Survival Rate
  • Swine
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasopressins / pharmacology
  • Vasopressins / therapeutic use*


  • Vasopressins