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The microcirculation comprising of arterioles, capillaries and post-capillary venules is the terminal vascular network of the systemic circulation. Microvascular homeostasis, comprising of a balance between vasoconstriction, vasodilation and endothelial permeability in healthy states, regulates tissue perfusion. In severe infections, systemic inflammation occurs irrespective of the infecting microorganism(s), resulting in microcirculatory dysregulation and dysfunction, which impairs tissue perfusion and often precedes end-organ failure. The common hallmarks of microvascular dysfunction in both septic shock and dengue shock, are endothelial cell activation, glycocalyx degradation and plasma leak through a disrupted endothelial barrier. Microvascular tone is also impaired by a reduced bioavailability of nitric oxide. In vitro and in vivo studies have however demonstrated that the nature and extent of microvascular dysfunction as well as responses to volume expansion resuscitation differ in these two clinical syndromes. This review compares and contrasts the pathophysiology of microcirculatory dysfunction in septic versus dengue shock and the attendant effects of fluid administration during resuscitation.

Original publication




Journal article


Global cardiology science & practice

Publication Date





Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.