Septic shock refers to a dangerously low blood pressure (hypotension) that may result from sepsis, or infection. This can occur through the action of a bacterial lipopolysaccharide called endotoxin. The mortality associated with septic shock is presently very high, estimated at 50% to 70%. According to recent information, endotoxin activates the enzyme nitric oxide synthase within macrophages—cells that play an important role in the immune response (see chapter 15). As previously discussed, nitric oxide synthase produces nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and, as a result, a fall in blood pressure. Septic shock has recently been treated effectively with drugs that inhibit the production of nitric oxide.
Cardiac Output, Blood Flow, and Blood Pressure
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Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...