The present work investigated the dynamic changes in stressed volume (Vs) and other determinants of venous return using a porcine model of hyperdynamic septic shock. Septicemia was induced in 10 anesthetized swine, and fluid challenges were started after the diagnosis of sepsis-induced arterial hypotension and/or tissue hypoperfusion. Norepinephrine infusion targeting a mean arterial pressure (MAP) of 65 mmHg was started after three consecutive fluid challenges. After septic shock was confirmed, norepinephrine infusion was discontinued, and the animals were left untreated until cardiac arrest occurred. Baseline Vs decreased by 7% for each mmHg decrease in MAP during progression of septic shock. Mean circulatory filling pressure (Pmcf) analogue (Pmca), right atrial pressure, resistance to venous return, and efficiency of the heart decreased with time (p < 0.001 for all). Fluid challenges did not improve hemodynamics, but noradrenaline increased Vs from 107 mL to 257 mL (140%) and MAP from 45 mmHg to 66 mmHg (47%). Baseline Pmca and post-cardiac arrest Pmcf did not differ significantly (14.3 ± 1.23 mmHg vs. 14.75 ± 1.5 mmHg, p = 0.24), but the difference between pre-arrest Pmca and post-cardiac arrest Pmcf was statistically significant (9.5 ± 0.57 mmHg vs. 14.75 ± 1.5 mmHg, p < 0.001). In conclusion, the baseline Vs decreased by 7% for each mmHg decrease in MAP during progression of hyperdynamic septic shock. Significant changes were also observed in other determinants of venous return. A new physiological intravascular volume existing at zero transmural distending pressure was identified, termed as the rest volume (Vr).
Keywords: anesthesiology; cardiovascular dynamics; hemodynamics; intensive care medicine; mean circulatory filling pressure; rest volume; septic shock; stressed volume; unstressed volume; venous return.