What is the role of circulatory derangement in the pathophysiology of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) in sepsis?

Updated: Jan 27, 2020
  • Author: Ali H Al-Khafaji, MD, MPH, FACP, FCCP, FCCM; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Significant derangement in autoregulation of circulation is typical of sepsis. Vasoactive mediators cause vasodilatation and increase microvascular permeability at the site of infection. NO plays a central role in the vasodilatation of septic shock. Also, impaired secretion of vasopressin may occur, which may permit persistence of vasodilatation.

Changes in both systolic and diastolic ventricular performance occur in sepsis. Through the use of the Frank-Starling mechanism, cardiac output often is increased to maintain blood pressure in the presence of systemic vasodilatation. Patients with preexisting cardiac disease are unable to increase their cardiac output appropriately.

Regionally, sepsis interferes with the normal distribution of systemic blood flow to organ systems. Consequently, core organs may not receive appropriate oxygen delivery, and the result is what is known as regional hypoperfusion.

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