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Carotid blood flow is correlated with cardiac output but not with arterial blood pressure in porcine fecal peritonitis


Cerebral blood flow may be impaired in sepsis [1]. The objective of this study is to evaluate whether and how carotid blood flow (CBF) depends on cardiac output and mean arterial blood pressure in abdominal sepsis.


Thirty-two anesthetized pigs (weight: 40.3 ± 3.7 kg (mean ± SD)) were randomly assigned (n = 8 per group) to a nonseptic control group (CG) or one of three groups in which resuscitation was initiated 6, 12 or 24 hours after induction of fecal peritonitis (instillation of 2 g/kg autologous feces). In the treatment groups, resuscitation was performed for 48 hours according to the Surviving Sepsis Campaign. The CG was observed for 72 hours. CBF (carotid artery; ultrasound Doppler flow), cardiac output (intermittent thermodilution) and arterial blood pressure (MAP) were measured at 6-hour intervals. Pearson correlation were performed between CBF index (CBFI) and cardiac index (CI) and MAP, respectively, both in individual animals and in pooled septic and control groups.


Altogether 227 measurements were obtained during sepsis and 128 in controls. In septic animals, CBFI and CI (r = 0.53, P < 0.001; Figure 1) but not CBFI and MAP correlated (Figure 2). In controls, CBFI and MAP correlated weakly and inversely (r = -0.246, P = 0.005; data not shown).

Figure 1
figure 1

Correlation between CBFI and CI.

Figure 2
figure 2

Correlation between CBFI and MAP.


Under the experimental conditions, increasing systemic blood flow but not blood pressure has the potential to improve CBF.


  1. Taccone FS: Cerebral microcirculation is impaired during sepsis: an experimental study. Crit Care 2010, 14: R140.

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Correa, T., Blaser, A.R., Takala, J. et al. Carotid blood flow is correlated with cardiac output but not with arterial blood pressure in porcine fecal peritonitis. Crit Care 15 (Suppl 1), P70 (2011).

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  • Cardiac Output
  • Cerebral Blood Flow
  • Cardiac Index
  • Arterial Blood Pressure
  • Systemic Blood