• Experimental evidence has shown that pancreatic blood flow is severely diminished during acute pancreatitis, but it is unclear whether a decrease in blood flow is a critical event in the evolution of complications of this disease. When an episode of edematous pancreatitis is complicated by necrosis of part of the gland, there is a risk of both acute and chronic complications, including sepsis, hemorrhage, and abscess. One of the questions that remains is whether the decreases in blood flow alluded to are primary or secondary causes. If primary, treatments that preserve pancreatic blood flow during pancreatitis might have a salutary effect on observed morbidity and mortality. This study determined whether two vasoactive drugs, oxidopamine (6-hydroxydopamine) and dihydroergotamine tartrate, given prior to experimentally induced pancreatitis in rats, affected observed mortality. After oxidopamine treatment, rats had a higher survival rate and greater pancreatic blood flow than untreated controls. The association of greater pancreatic blood flow and reduced mortality did not exclude other possible effects of oxidopamine treatment but was consistent with the hypothesis that vasoactive therapy may have a role in this disease.
(Arch Surg 1984;119:477-480)