A hypertonic sodium chloride bolus passing through the lung has a sound velocity transient that is biphasic when it reaches the carotid artery. This transient is compatible with water moving into the hypertonic bolus from the lung parenchyma, thereby leaving the lung parenchyma hypertonic. Subsequently, as the bolus leaves the lung vasculature, water passes from the blood into the tissue to return the lung tonicity to baseline, giving a moment when net movement is zero, an instant of osmotic equilibrium. Concurrent measurements of impedance track the sodium chloride transient. A theoretic basis for the calculation of extravascular lung water is derived from the water transferred to the blood, the amount of sodium chloride moved from blood to the lung, and the increase in blood osmolarity measured at the moment of equilibrium. Examples from measurements on sheep suggest that two intravenous injections of hypertonic and isotonic sodium chloride, with observations of sound velocity and electrical impedance in the systemic arterial circulation (which could also provide the cardiac output), provide a basis for calculation of lung permeability, water and salt movements, and extravascular lung water estimation.
Copyright © 1998 by the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs