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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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.