The response of the pulmonary circulation to exercise during normoxia and hypoxia following pneumonectomy in the adult sheep
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Pneumonectomy approximately halves the available pulmonary vascular bed. It is unknown whether the remaining lung has sufficient vascular reserve to cope with increased blood flow under stressful conditions without demonstrating abnormal pulmonary hemodynamics. To investigate this question, unanesthetized ewes with vascular catheters had hemodynamics assessed before and after a left pneumonectomy. Subsequently, on different days, the sheep were exercised on a treadmill under normoxic and hypobaric hypoxic (430 mmHg) (1 mmHg = 133.3 Pa) conditions. Pneumonectomy itself increased mean pulmonary arterial pressure by 4 mmHg. During normoxic or hypoxic exercise, the pneumonectomized sheep demonstrated a pulmonary hemodynamic response similar to normal sheep with two lungs. The pressure-flow relation for the right lung suggested the vascular reserve of the lung was not exceeded during exercise in the pneumonectomized sheep. Eighteen to 70 days after pneumonectomy there was no evidence of right ventricular hypertrophy, but there were small increases in the number of muscularized vessels less than 50 microns diameter and in the amount of muscle in normally muscularized pulmonary arteries. This study demonstrates that pneumonectomy slightly increases mean pulmonary arterial pressure. However, there is sufficient vascular reserve in the remaining lung to permit a normal hemodynamic response to exercise-induced increased blood flow even under hypoxic conditions.
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