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Anesthesiology. 2008 Apr;108(4):735-48. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e3181672607.

Venous function and central venous pressure: a physiologic story.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The veins contain approximately 70% of total blood volume and are 30 times more compliant than arteries; therefore, changes in blood volume within the veins are associated with relatively small changes in venous pressure. The terms venous capacity, compliance, and stressed and unstressed volumes are defined. Decreases in flow into a vein are associated with decreases in intravenous pressure and volume, and vice versa. Changes in resistance in the small arteries and arterioles may affect venous return in opposite directions; this is explained by a two-compartment model: compliant (mainly splanchnic veins) and noncompliant (nonsplanchnic veins). Effects of intrathoracic and intraabdominal pressures on venous return and central venous pressure as well as the value of central venous pressure as a diagnostic variable are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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