Rationale: Hypercapnia has similar hemodynamic effects to those of a dobutamine infusion and may have relevance in the management of septic shock. Objectives: To compare the effects induced by hypercapnia with those of dobutamine in a clinically relevant model of septic shock. Methods: Fecal peritonitis was induced in 21 anesthetized, invasively monitored, mechanically ventilated female sheep. A combination of Ringer’s lactate and 6 % hydroxyethyl starch solution was titrated to maintain constant cardiac filling throughout the experiments. Two hours after feces spillage, animals were randomized to one of three groups (each, n 5 7): (1) hypercapnia: carbon dioxide given to maintain partial pressure of carbon dioxide between 55 and 65 mm Hg throughout the experiment; (2) dobutamine: dobutamine infused intravenously (7 mg/kg/min); (3) control: no treatment. In the dobutamine and control groups, the partial pressure of carbo
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