Continuous thoracic epidural anesthesia improves gut mucosal microcirculation in rats with sepsis

Daudel, Fritz; Freise, Hendrik; Westphal, Martin; Stubbe, Henning D; Lauer, Stefan; Bone, Hans-Georg; Van Aken, Hugo; Sielenkämper, Andreas W (2007). Continuous thoracic epidural anesthesia improves gut mucosal microcirculation in rats with sepsis. Shock, 28(5), pp. 610-4. Hagerstown, Md.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 10.1097/shk.0b013e31804f584a

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

Microcirculatory dysfunction contributes significantly to tissue hypoxia and multiple organ failure in sepsis. Ischemia of the gut and intestinal hypoxia are especially relevant for the evolution of sepsis because the mucosal barrier function may be impaired, leading to translocation of bacteria and toxins. Because sympathetic blockade enhances intestinal perfusion under physiologic conditions, we hypothesized that thoracic epidural anesthesia (TEA) may attenuate microcirculatory perturbations during sepsis. The present study was designed as a prospective and controlled laboratory experiment to assess the effects of continuous TEA on the mucosal microcirculation in a cecal ligation and perforation model of sepsis in rats. Anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats underwent laparotomy and cecal ligation and perforation to induce sepsis. Subsequently, either bupivacaine 0.125% (n = 10) or isotonic sodium chloride solution (n = 9) was continuously infused via the thoracic epidural catheter for 24 h. In addition, a sham laparotomy was carried out in eight animals. Intravital videomicroscopy was then performed on six to ten villi of ileum mucosa. The capillary density was measured as areas encircled by perfused capillaries, that is, intercapillary areas. The TEA accomplished recruitment of microcirculatory units in the intestinal mucosa by decreasing total intercapillary areas (1,317 +/- 403 vs. 1,001 +/- 236 microm2) and continuously perfused intercapillary areas (1,937 +/- 512 vs. 1,311 +/- 678 microm2, each P < 0.05). Notably, TEA did not impair systemic hemodynamic variables beyond the changes caused by sepsis itself. Therefore, sympathetic blockade may represent a therapeutic option to treat impaired microcirculation in the gut mucosa resulting from sepsis. Additional studies are warranted to assess the microcirculatory effects of sympathetic blockade on other splanchnic organs in systemic inflammation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)






Lippincott Williams & Wilkins




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:55

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:16

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 42534)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback