Septic cardiomyopathy

Ann Intensive Care. 2011 Apr 13;1(1):6. doi: 10.1186/2110-5820-1-6.


Depression of left ventricular (LV) intrinsic contractility is constant in patients with septic shock. Because most parameters of cardiac function are strongly dependent on afterload, especially in this context, the cardiac performance evaluated at the bedside reflects intrinsic contractility, but also the degree of vasoplegia. Recent advances in echocardiography have allowed better characterization of septic cardiomyopathy. It is always reversible providing the patient's recovery. Unlike classic cardiomyopathy, it is not associated with high filling pressures, for two reasons: improvement in LV compliance and associated right ventricular dysfunction. Although, it is unclear to which extent it affects prognosis, a hyperkinetic state is indicative of a profound and persistent vasoplegia associated with a high mortality rate. Preliminary data suggest that the hemodynamic response to a dobutamine challenge has a prognostic value, but large studies are required to establish whether inotropic drugs should be used to treat this septic cardiac dysfunction.