Nitrogen oxide levels in patients after trauma and during sepsis

Ann Surg. 1991 Nov;214(5):621-6. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199111000-00013.


The mediators responsible for maintenance of the hyperdynamic state and the low systemic vascular resistance (SVR) observed in sepsis have not been elucidated. Nitric oxide (.N = O) is a mediator with numerous functions, including regulation of vascular tone and a role in macrophage-mediated cytostasis and microbiostasis. Thirty-nine critically ill trauma and septic patients were studied to determine the relationship between .N = O production and the hyperdynamic state. high plasma levels of NO2-/NO3- (the stable end products of .N = O) were observed in septic patients (p less than 0.02). Low SVR and high endotoxin levels were associated with high NO2-/NO3- values (p = 0.029, p = 0.002). Changes in .N = O levels may mediate the vasodilation seen in sepsis. Low NO2-/NO3- levels were observed in trauma patients (p less than 0.001) and remained low even in the presence of sepsis (p = 0.001).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Endotoxins / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / blood*
  • Infections / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrates / blood
  • Nitrites / blood
  • Nitrogen Oxides / blood*
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Wounds and Injuries / blood*
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology


  • Endotoxins
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nitrogen Oxides