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Effect of hypercapnia on hypoxic ventilatory drive in carotid body-resected man.


Steplike end-tidal hypoxic drives (PETCO2 = 53 Torr) lasting for 5 min were generated in a group of normal subjects and a group of carotid body-resected subjects when end-tidal CO2 was maintained constant under eucapnic (PETCO2 = 39 Torr) and hypercapnic (PETCO2 = 49 Torr) conditions. The hypoxic ventilatory response of the normal subjects was prompt and significant in eucapnia and was enhanced in the hypercapnic state, evidencing CO2-O2 interaction. In contrast, the carotid body-resected subjects did not respond to eucapnic hypoxia but did demonstrate a small but significant ventilatory response to hypoxia against the hypercapnic background. This suggests that the aortic bodies in man may contribute a small component of the hypoxic ventilatory drive under hypercapnic conditions, although the possibility of neuromalike ending regeneration cannot be excluded.

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