[en] OBJECTIVE: The mechanism of sustained alterations in pulmonary hemodynamics during endotoxin shock remains unclear. To gain more detailed knowledge we used the four-element windkessel model as a descriptor of the pulmonary circuit. METHODS: Consecutive changes in characteristic resistance (R1), vascular compliance (C), input resistance (R2) and inductance (L) were continuously assessed following injection of endotoxin in 6 anaesthetised pigs, and were compared with the corresponding values measured in a similar group of sham-operated animals. RESULTS: Endotoxin challenge resulted in a biphasic pulmonary artery pressure response. Blood flow decreased progressively from 2.8 +/- 0.2 l/min to 2 +/- 0.2 l/min. Ohmic pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) increased gradually from 0.2 +/- 0.04 to 0.76 +/- 0.1 mm Hg s ml-1. The early increase in PAP (from 14 +/- 2 to 27 +/- 4 mm Hg) was mediated by changes in both R1 (from 0.04 +/- 0.01 to 0.06 +/- 0.01 mm Hg s ml-1) and R2 (from 0.16 +/- 0.04 to 0.61 +/- 0.2 mm Hg s ml-1). These responses, in turn, altered the proximal vascular compliance. A subsequent increase in PAP (from 27 +/- 2 to 32 +/- 3 mm Hg) paralleled the specific decline in distal pulmonary vasculature compliance from 0.84 +/- 0.1 to 0.65 +/- 0.1 ml/mmHg. Analysis of the time course of PVR did not allow us to distinguish between vasoconstriction and stiffening of the vascular tree as mechanisms accounting for PAP changes. CONCLUSIONS: Endotoxemia leads to pulmonary hypertension, which is a result of constriction of proximal pulmonary arteries during the early phase, whereas the late phase is characterised by a decline in distal pulmonary vasculature compliance.