We studied the effects of increased airway pressure caused by increasing levels of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) on bronchial arterial pressure-flow relationships. In eight α-chloralose-anesthetized mechanically ventilated sheep (23-27 kg), the common bronchial artery, the bronchial branch of the bronchoesophageal artery, was cannulated and perfused with a pump. The control bronchial blood flow (avg 12 ± 1 ml/min or 0.48 ml·min-1·kg-1) was set to maintain mean bronchial arterial pressure equal to systemic blood pressure. Pressure-flow curves of the bronchial circulation were measured by making step changes in bronchial blood flow, and changes in these curves were analyzed with measurements of the pressure at zero flow and the slope of the linearized curve. The zero-flow pressure represents the effective downstream pressure, and the slope represents the resistance through the bronchial vasculature. At a constant bronchial arterial pressure of 100 mmHg, an 8 mmHg increase in mean airway pressure caused a 40% reduction in bronchial blood flow. Under constant flow conditions, increases in mean airway pressure with the application of PEEP caused substantial increases in bronchial arterial pressure, averaging 4.6 mmHg for every millimeters of mercury increase in mean airway pressure. However, bronchial arterial pressure at zero flow increased approximately one-for-one with increases in mean airway pressure. Thus the acute sensitivity of the bronchial artery to changes in mean airway pressure results primarily from changes in bronchovascular resistance and not downstream pressure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)