Background and Aims: Previous studies have shown that the renin- angiotensin axis plays a pivotal role in vasoconstriction of the gastric, intestinal, and hepatic circulations during cardiogenic shock. The aim of this study was to evaluate the fundamental hemodynamic mechanism of pancreatic ischemia during cardiogenic shock induced by pericardial tamponade. Methods: Cardiogenic shock was induced by pericardial tamponade. Cardiac output (and total peripheral vascular resistance) was determined by thermodilution. Pancreatic blood flow (and vascular resistance) was determined with radiolabeled microspheres. Results: Graded increases in pericardial pressure produced corresponding decreases in cardiac output to 42% ± 1% and arterial pressure to 67% ± 3% of baseline and increases in total peripheral vascular resistance to 146% ± 5% of baseline. Pancreatic blood flow decreased disproportionately to 30% ± 3% of baseline, because of a disproportionate increase in pancreatic vascular resistance to 220% ± 19% of baseline. Previously confirmed blockade of the renin-angiotensin axis ablated this response, whereas confirmed blockade of the α-adrenergic system or vasopressin system had no significant effect. Without shock, central intravenous infusions of angiotensin II closely mimicked this selective vasoconstriction. Conclusions: Angiotensin-mediated selective pancreatic vasoconstriction results in significant pancreatic ischemia during cardiogenic shock.
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