Lung fluid balance, which is governed by the product of net transvascular pressure difference and lung filtration coefficient, can be altered in pulmonary diseases. A simple measurement of the lung filtration coefficient (Kfc) would be clinically useful and has been examined by several researchers. Current methods of determining Kfc include gravimetric measurement in isolated lungs and lymph node cannulation, neither of which can be extended to human use. Optical measurements of protein concentration changes in venous blood can be combined with pressure measurements to calculate Kfc. Blood, though, contains red corpuscles, which tend to absorb and scatter light, obscuring these optical measurements. In this study, an optical system was developed in which a polysulfone filter cartridge was used to remove red blood cells before the filtrate was passed through a spectrophotometer. Absorbance changes caused by changes in concentration of albumin labeled with Evans Blue were monitored at 620 nm after venous pressure was elevated by about 13 cm H2O. Optical measurements of Kfc averaged 0.401±0.074 (ml/min cm H2O 100 g DLW) for an isolated canine lung. Optical measurements of Kfc (0.363±0.120 ml/min cm H2O 100 g DLW) were made for the first time in an intact, closed chest sheep in which pulmonary pressure was altered by inflating a Foley balloon in the left atrium. We conclude that absorbance and scattering artifacts introduced by red blood cells can be eliminated by first filtering the blood through polysulfone fibers. Kfc measurements using the optical method are similar to values obtained by others using gravimetric methods. Finally, we have demonstrated that the technique can be used to estimate Kfc in an intact animal.
- Lung filtration coefficient
- Optical measurement