If an experimental animal is subjected to graded hypotension by bleeding into a reservoir, it will usually recover if the shed blood is returned to the circulation within 2 hr. If hypotension (40 mmHg) is prolonged to 6 hr, most of the animals will die despite the return of all the blood to the circulation at the end of this period. Fine and his co-workers have suggested that this state of irreversible shock is due to endotoxaemia. Fine's evidence in support of this thesis is presented and discussed together with apparently contradictory evidence from other sources.
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