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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Apr;292(4):H1777-81. Epub 2006 Dec 1.

Direct demonstration of 25- and 50-microm arteriovenous pathways in healthy human and baboon lungs.

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  • 1John Rankin Laboratory of Pulmonary Medicine, Univ. of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53706-1532, USA. atlovering@wisc.edu

Abstract

Postmortem microsphere studies in adult human lungs have demonstrated the existence of intrapulmonary arteriovenous pathways using nonphysiological conditions. The aim of the current study was to determine whether large diameter (>25 and 50 microm) intrapulmonary arteriovenous pathways are functional in human and baboon lungs under physiological perfusion and ventilation pressures. We used fresh healthy human donor lungs obtained for transplantation and fresh lungs from baboons (Papio c. anubis). Lungs were ventilated with room air by using a peak inflation pressure of 15 cm H(2)O and a positive end-expiratory pressure of 5 cm H(2)O. Lungs were perfused between 10 and 20 cm H(2)O by using a phosphate-buffered saline solution with 5% albumin. We infused a mixture of 25- and 50-microm microspheres (0.5 and 1 million total for baboons and human studies, respectively) into the pulmonary artery and collected the entire pulmonary venous outflow. Under these conditions, evidence of intrapulmonary arteriovenous anastomoses was found in baboon (n = 3/4) and human (n = 4/6) lungs. In those lungs showing evidence of arteriovenous pathways, 50-microm microspheres were always able to traverse the pulmonary circulation, and the fraction of transpulmonary passage ranged from 0.0003 to 0.42%. These data show that intrapulmonary arteriovenous pathways >50 microm in diameter are functional under physiological ventilation and perfusion pressures in the isolated lung. These pathways provide an alternative conduit for pulmonary blood flow that likely bypasses the areas of gas exchange at the capillary-alveolar interface that could compromise both gas exchange and the ability of the lung to filter out microemboli.

PMID:
17142338
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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