Redistribution of pulmonary blood flow impacts thermodilution-based extravascular lung water measurements in a model of acute lung injury

R. Blaine Easley, Daniel G. Mulreany, Christopher T. Lancaster, Jason W. Custer, Ana Fernandez-Bustamante, Elizabeth Colantuoni, Brett A. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: Studies using transthoracic thermodilution have demonstrated increased extravascular lung water (EVLW) measurements attributed to progression of edema and flooding during sepsis and acute lung injury. The authors hypothesized that redistribution of pulmonary blood flow can cause increased apparent EVLW secondary to increased perfusion of thermally silent tissue, not increased lung edema. METHODS:: Anesthetized, mechanically ventilated canines were instrumented with PiCCO® (Pulsion Medical, Munich, Germany) catheters and underwent lung injury by repetitive saline lavage. Hemodynamic and respiratory physiologic data were recorded. After stabilized lung injury, endotoxin was administered to inactivate hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Computed tomographic imaging was performed to quantify in vivo lung volume, total tissue (fluid) and air content, and regional distribution of blood flow. RESULTS:: Lavage injury caused an increase in airway pressures and decreased arterial oxygen content with minimal hemodynamic effects. EVLW and shunt fraction increased after injury and then markedly after endotoxin administration. Computed tomographic measurements quantified an endotoxin-induced increase in pulmonary blood flow to poorly aerated regions with no change in total lung tissue volume. CONCLUSIONS:: The abrupt increase in EVLW and shunt fraction after endotoxin administration is consistent with inactivation of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and increased perfusion to already flooded lung regions that were previously thermally silent. Computed tomographic studies further demonstrate in vivo alterations in regional blood flow (but not lung water) and account for these alterations in shunt fraction and EVLW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1074
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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