BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: There is a need for new methods of increasing systemic oxygenation in patients with hypoxia due to potentially reversible pulmonary failure. The goal of this study was to determine if it is possible to increase systemic oxygenation by perfusing the thoracic cavity with oxygenated perfluorocarbon in animals with induced hypoxia.
METHODS: Fifteen Sprague-Dawley rats were intubated, and hypoxia was induced by hypoventilation (room air, respiratory rate <30/min). Inflow and outflow tubes were placed in the thoracic cavity and connected to a perfusion circuit containing a roller pump, warmer and oxygenator. Rats in Group I were not treated during hypoventilation, those in Group II were perfused with oxygenated saline, and those in Group III were perfused with oxygenated perfluorocarbon. Arterial blood gases were collected every 30 min for 180 min. At the conclusion of the experiments, pathological examination of the lungs and parietal pleura was performed.
RESULTS: PaO2 in Group III was significantly higher than that in Group I or Group II. PaCO2 in Group III was significantly lower than that in the other two groups. Histological examination showed no damage to the lungs and parietal pleura in Group III.
CONCLUSIONS: Perfusion of the thoracic cavity with oxygenated perfluorocarbon in an animal model of induced hypoxia resulted in a significant increase in systemic oxygenation without lung damage and might be a useful method for improving systemic oxygenation.
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