A left-to-right shunt is accompanied by an increased plasma and blood volume. Since this is likely realized through renin/aldosterone-mediated salt and water retention, other body fluid compartments may be changed too. Therefore, we studied blood volume and body fluid compartments by a single-injection, triple-indicator dilution technique in nine 8-wk-old lambs with an aortopulmonary left-to-right shunt (55 +/- 3% of left ventricular output; mean +/- SEM) and in 11 control lambs, 2.5 wk after surgery. Systemic blood flow was maintained at the same level as in control lambs, but the aortic pressure of the shunt lambs was lower. Blood volume in shunt lambs was larger than in control lambs (110 +/- 6 vs. 84 +/- 7 ml/kg, P < 0.001) through an increase in plasma volume, which correlated significantly with the magnitude of the left-to-right shunt (r = 0.81, P < 0.01). Red blood cell volume was equal to that of control lambs. Evidence was obtained that the increase in plasma volume was induced by a transient increase in renin (8.0 +/- 2.2 vs. 1.6 +/- 0.2 nmol.l-1.h-1; P < 0.02) and aldosterone (0.51 +/- 0.14 vs. 0.24 +/- 0.09 nmol/liter) concentrations. Interstitial water volume, however, was not significantly different from that in control lambs. The amount of intravascular protein was significantly higher than in control lambs (5.0 +/- 0.3 vs. 3.5 +/- 0.2 g/kg body mass, P < 0.001). There were no significant differences in intracellular and total body water volumes between the two groups. We conclude that the increased amount of intravascular protein confines the fluid retained by the kidneys to the vascular compartment.
J W Gratama, M Dalinghaus, J J Meuzelaar, A M Gerding, J H Koers, W G Zijlstra, J R Kuipers