Effects of norepinephrine infusion on cerebral energy metabolism during experimental haemorrhagic shock

Rasmus Peter Jakobsen, Elisabeth Charlotte Hansen, Troels Halfeld Nielsen, Carl-Henrik Nordström, Palle Toft

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BACKGROUND: The use of norepinephrine in the case of life-threatening haemorrhagic shock is well established but widely discussed. The present study was designed to compare the effects of early norepinephrine treatment vs. no treatment on cerebral energy metabolism during haemorrhagic shock.

METHODS: Twelve pigs were subjected to haemorrhagic shock, 4 in the control group and 8 in the norepinephrine (NE) group. Following a 60 min baseline period haemorrhagic shock was achieved by bleeding all animals to a pre-defined mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) of approximately 40 mm Hg. When mean arterial pressure had decreased to 40 mmHg NE infusion started in the treatment group. After 90 min, NE infusion stopped, and all pigs were resuscitated with autologous blood and observed for 2.5 h. During the experiment cerebral tissue oxygenation (PbtO2) was monitored continuously and variables reflecting cerebral energy metabolism (glucose, lactate, pyruvate, glutamate, glycerol) were measured by utilizing intracerebral microdialysis.

RESULTS: All 12 pigs completed the protocol. NE infusion resulted in significantly higher MAP (p < 0.001). During the shock period lactate/pyruvate (LP) ratio group increased from 20 (15-29) to 66 (38-82) (median (IQR)) in the control group but remained within normal limits in the NE group. The significant increase in LP ratio in the control group remained after resuscitation. After induction of shock PbtO2 decreased markedly in the control group and was significantly lower than in the NE group during the resuscitation phase.

CONCLUSION: NE infusion during haemorrhagic shock improved cerebral energy metabolism compared with no treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalIntensive Care Medicine Experimental
Publication statusPublished - 4. Feb 2022


  • Cerebral metabolism
  • Haemorrhagic shock
  • Microdialysis
  • Norepinephrine
  • Trauma


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