Skip to main content

Is intestinal tonometry a reliable method to detect histological changes after small bowel transplantation?


Postoperative complications after intestinal transplantation can be attributed to hypothermic storage and reperfusion injury. In this study, we sought to obtain evidence that intestinal pCO2 measurement can be a useful method for monitoring graft perfusion and early histological changes after small-bowel transplantation. Additionally, we evaluated the initial effects of isolated intestinal hypothermic perfusion (IHP) (at 4°C) on mucosal and serosal blood flow distribution, and we correlated these findings with other systemic and regional markers of mesenteric ischemia.


Eight dogs (23.3 ± 1.1 kg) were submitted to in situ IHP for 30 min, followed by a 180-min reperfusion period. The cardiac output, mesenteric vein and intestinal serosal blood flows (SMVBF and SBF, ultrasonic flowprobe), intestinal mucosal–arterial pCO2 gradient (Dt-apCO2, tonometry) and O2-derived variables were evaluated.


IHP induced a reduction in SMVBF (579 ± 53 to 321 ± 10 ml/min) and SBF (44.7 ± 3.2 to 29.1 ± 5.3 ml/min) and an increase in Dt-apCO2 (2 ± 2.8 to 20.5 ± 4.5 mmHg). No alterations on systemic metabolic or O2-derived variables were observed. The increase of the Dt-apCO2 correlated with the grade of mucosal injury (Fig. 1).

figure 1

Figure 1


IHP induces a proportional reduction on blood flow in all layers of the intestine, and none of the systemic markers of splanchnic ischemia predict the intestinal blood flow disturbances during the early phase of intestinal transplantation. In addition, intestinal pCO2 measurement seems to be a useful way for monitoring graft perfusion and histological changes after hypothermic ischemia and reperfusion.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cruz, R., Correia, C., Ribeiro, C. et al. Is intestinal tonometry a reliable method to detect histological changes after small bowel transplantation?. Crit Care 9 (Suppl 2), P37 (2005).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Histological Change
  • Mucosal Injury
  • Mesenteric Ischemia
  • Reperfusion Period
  • Flow Disturbance