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Assessment of coagulation cascade during air microembolization of the lung.


Experiments were performed to determine whether activation of the coagulation cascade was required for pulmonary vascular permeability to increase during microembolization of the lung. For 30-45 min air microemboli were intravenously infused (0.05-0.10 ml X kg-1 X min-1) into awake sheep with chronic lung-lymph fistulas and anesthetized mongrel dogs. During embolization the pulmonary arterial pressure increased, and O2 partial pressure (PaO2) fell by more than 20 Torr (P less than 0.01). Subsequently lymph flow nearly tripled without a change in the lymph-to-plasma protein concentration ratio. Partial thromboplastin and prothrombin times, biological activity of antithrombin III, and circulating concentration of 125I-labeled dog or sheep fibrinogen did not change during or following air infusion. In two additional sheep an intravenous infusion of thrombin at 0.6 U X kg-1 X min-1 for 15 min resulted in a 20% decrease in 125I-labeled sheep fibrinogen concentration without a change in pulmonary arterial pressure or PaO2. We conclude that air microembolization can increase permeability to water and protein without a detectable activation of the coagulation cascade in the sheep or dog.

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