The hypothesis was that postoperative ileus might be caused by a disturbed balance between the motor-stimulating hormones, motilin and substance P, and the motorinhibitory hormone, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, and that octreotide might prevent this disturbance and so ameliorate the ileus. In 15 conscious dogs with chronic gastro-intestinal electrodes, electrical activity was recorded and blood was drawn for radioimmunoassay of motilin, substance P, and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) during fasting and after a liquid meal. Ileus was then induced by celiotomy and intestinal abrasion. During and after operation, five dogs received 154 mM NaCl only, five dogs octreotide, 0.19 μg/kg/hr, and five octreotide, 0.83 μg/kg/hr. Plasma levels of motilin, substance P, and VIP were changed little by operation, but cyclical increases in plasma motilin, which occurred preoperatively during phase III of the interdigestive myoelectric complex, were completely abolished postoperatively during ileus, as was the complex itself. Octreotide ameliorated the ileus and restored the interdigestive complexes, but it decreased plasma motilin and did not restore the cyclic increases in motilin found in health, nor did it alter plasma substance P and VIP. In conclusion, octreotide ameliorates postoperative ileus, but it does not do so by increasing plasma motilin or substance P or decreasing plasma VIP.
- substance P
- vasoactive intestinal peptide