Objective: To study the influence of long-term volume therapy with different solutions and continuous administration of pentoxifylline on plasma concentrations of circulating adhesion molecules.
Design: Prospective, randomized study.
Setting: A surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital.
Patients: Forty-two patients with sepsis secondary to major surgery were included.
Interventions: The patients were randomly separated into three groups. In group 1 (n=14), volume therapy was exclusively carried out with 10% low-molecular-weight hydroxyethyl starch solution. In group 2 (n=14), patients exclusively received 20% human albumin for volume therapy. In group 3 (n=14), volume therapy was not defined and pentoxifylline was continuously given (1.4 mg/kg/hr iv).
Measurements and main results: From arterial blood samples, plasma concentrations of soluble adhesion molecules (endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 [soluble ELAM-1], intercellular adhesion molecule-1 [soluble ICAM-1], vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 [soluble VCAM-1], and soluble granule membrane protein-140) were serially measured on the day of admission to the ICU ("baseline" value) and during the next 5 days at noon. No significant differences between the three groups were found for macrohemodynamics. Soluble ELAM-1, soluble ICAM-1 and soluble VCAM-1 plasma concentrations were markedly higher than normal values at baseline in all groups. In the hydroxyethyl starch group, soluble ELAM-1 plasma concentration decreased to the normal range, whereas it further increased in the human albumin group and was almost unchanged in the pentoxifylline group. During the study period, soluble ICAM-1 and soluble VCAM-1 plasma concentrations remained unchanged in the hydroxyethyl starch group. However, these concentrations increased in the other groups. Soluble granule membrane protein-140 increased significantly only in the human albumin group (483 +/- 103 to 683 +/- 94 ng/mL). In the hydroxyethal starch-treated patients, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score decreased significantly (from 24.3 +/- 3.4 at baseline to 17.0 +/- 3.3 at the end the study period). Only PaO2/FIO2 was correlated to plasma concentrations of adhesion molecules.
Conclusions: Sepsis is associated with markedly increased plasma concentrations of adhesion molecules, indicating endothelial activation or damage. By long-term volume therapy with hydroxyethal starch solution, these concentrations remained unchanged or even decreased, whereas in patients in whom human albumin was infused or pentoxifylline was given continuously, plasma concentration of soluble adhesion molecules further increased.