The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of combined hypoxia and hypercapnia and of severe asphyxia on lung water balance and protein transport in newborn lambs. We studied ten 2-4-wk-old anesthetized lambs which were mechanically ventilated first with air for 2-3 h, then with 10-12% oxygen in nitrogen for 2-4 h, and then with 10-12% oxygen and 10-12% carbon dioxide in nitrogen for 2-4 h. Next we stopped their breathing for 1-2 min to produce severe asphyxia, after which we followed their recovery in air for 2-4 h. In 5 of the 10 lambs we intravenously injected radioactive albumin and measured its turnover time between plasma and lymph during the baseline period and after recovery from asphyxia. During alveolar hypoxia alone, mean pulmonary arterial pressure increased 60% and lung lymph flow increased 74%, whereas lymph protein concentration decreased from 3.47 +/- 0.13 to 2.83 +/- 0.15 g/dl. Cardiac output, left atrial pressure, and plasma protein concentration did not change. When carbon dioxide was added to the inspired gas mixture, pulmonary arterial pressure increased 22%, cardiac output increased 13%, lung lymph flow increased 33%, and lymph protein concentration decreased from 2.83 +/- 0.15 to 2.41 +/- 0.13 g/dl. Left atrial pressure and plasma protein concentration did not change. After 60-90 s of induced asphyxia, vascular pressures and lung lymph flow rapidly returned to values the same as those obtained during the baseline period. The turnover time for radioactive albumin between plasma and lymph was the same between the baseline and recovery periods (185 +/- 16 vs. 179 +/- 12 min). The ratio of albumin to globulin in lymph relative to the same ratio in plasma did not change during any phase of these experiments. Five lambs killed after recovery from asphyxia had significantly less blood and extravascular water in their lungs than control lambs had. We conclude that in the newborn lamb both alveolar hypoxia and alveolar hypoxia with hypercapnia increase lung lymph flow by increasing filtration pressure in the microcirculation, but neither hypoxia with hypercapnia nor brief severe asphyxia alters the protein permeability of the pulmonary microcirculation.
T N Hansen, T A Hazinski, R D Bland