Author(s): Kirkpatrick CJ, Bittinger F, Klein CL, Hauptmann S, Klosterhalfen B
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Abstract Major advances in intensive care medicine during the past two decades have altered the spectrum of disease encountered by intensive care physicians, anaesthesiologists, traumatologists and pathologists. One of the most important manifestations of severe trauma or infections is the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS), a life-threatening condition that often ends in multiple organ failure (MOF) and death. Evidence gathered from clinical and morphological observations in humans, taken together with experimental animal studies and a vast accumulation of in vitro data, clearly indicate that the microcirculation lies at the centre of this complex process, which results in peripheral vascular insufficiency, inadequate oxygen delivery to vital organs, and hence, severe organ dysfunction. The multifunctional nature of the endothelium makes it a prime candidate for study of the pathomechanisms of MODS. This paper reviews the evidence for the hypothesis that the microcirculation, and in particular its endothelial component, has a central role in the pathogenesis of MODS. The evidence is reviewed principally from the standpoints of classical morbid anatomy and cell pathobiology.
This article was published in Virchows Arch
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