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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Global end-diastolic volume increases to maintain fluid responsiveness in sepsis-induced systolic dysfunction

Ronald J Trof12, Ibrahim Danad1 and AB Johan Groeneveld13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Intensive Care, Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Intensive Care, Medisch Spectrum Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

3 Department of Intensive Care, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Anesthesiology 2013, 13:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-13-12

Published: 22 June 2013



Sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction may limit fluid responsiveness and the mechanism thereof remains unclear. Since cardiac function may affect the relative value of cardiac filling pressures, such as the recommended central venous pressure (CVP), versus filling volumes in guiding fluid loading, we studied these parameters as determinants of fluid responsiveness, according to cardiac function.


A delta CVP-guided, 90 min colloid fluid loading protocol was performed in 16 mechanically ventilated patients with sepsis-induced hypotension and three 30 min consecutive fluid loading steps of about 450 mL per patient were evaluated. Global end-diastolic volume index (GEDVI), cardiac index (CI) and global ejection fraction (GEF) were assessed from transpulmonary dilution. Baseline and changes in CVP and GEDVI were compared among responding (CI increase ≥10% and ≥15%) and non-responding fluid loading steps, in patient with low (<20%, n = 9) and near-normal (≥20%) GEF (n = 7) at baseline.


A low GEF was in line with other indices of impaired cardiac (left ventricular) function, prior to and after fluid loading. Of 48 fluid loading steps, 9 (of 27) were responding when GEF <20% and 6 (of 21) when GEF ≥20. Prior to fluid loading, CVP did not differ between responding and non-responding steps and levels attained were 23 higher in the latter, regardless of GEF (P = 0.004). Prior to fluid loading, GEDVI (and CI) was higher in responding (1007 ± 306 mL/m2) than non-responding steps (870 ± 236 mL/m2) when GEF was low (P = 0.002), but did not differ when GEF was near-normal. Increases in GEDVI were associated with increases in CI and fluid responsiveness, regardless of GEF (P < 0.001).


As estimated from transpulmonary dilution, about half of patients with sepsis-induced hypotension have systolic cardiac dysfunction. During dysfunction, cardiac dilation with a relatively high baseline GEDVI maintains fluid responsiveness by further dilatation (increase in GEDVI rather than of CVP) as in patients without dysfunction. Absence of fluid responsiveness during systolic cardiac dysfunction may be caused by diastolic dysfunction and/or right ventricular dysfunction.

Septic Shock; Fluid Loading; Myocardial Depression; Right Ventricular Afterload; Diastolic Compliance; Filling Volumes; Ejection Fraction